Auto Administration Agency Staff Charged with Running Extortion Ring
The Specialized Prosecutor's Office has pressed charges against four officials of the Veliko Tarnovo unit of Bulgaria's Automobile Administration Executive Agency (AAEA).
The four officials of the AAEA Regional Directorate in Veliko Tarnovo were detained on Wednesday in a special operation of the State Agency for National Security (DANS) under the control and supervision of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office.
The charges concern participation in an organized crime group involved in bribery, extortion, abuse of power, etc.
Charges have been pressed against Petar Petrov, leader of the group, Director of the AAEA unit in Veliko Tarnovo, and Lyuben Merdzhanov, Valentin Hristov, and Stanislav Markov, officials of the AAEA who participated in the crime ring.
According to the evidence collected so far, the crime ring was operational since April 2014 at the least.
The participants in the crime ring organized the collection of bribes according to a tariff of driving schools, annual technical inspection centers, transport companies, etc.
The authorities conducted searches and seizures of money and other evidence related to the case in a number of towns on the territory of the Veliko Tarnovo and Varna districts as part of the pre-trial proceedings.
Petrov, Merdzhanov, Hristov and Markov have been detained for up to 72 hours under a ruling of a prosecutor from the specialized prosecuting authority. The Specialized Criminal Court is to review a motion demanding that they be remanded in custody.
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