Bulgarian Authorities Bust Large-Scale Money Laundering Scheme
Bulgarian authorities busted a large-scale money laundering scheme, which had harmed more than ten companies in six countries.
The operation was carried out by the interior ministry and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) under the supervision of the district prosecutor's office in Plovdiv and in cooperation with law enforcement agencies of other EU member states.
So far, nine people have been detained on suspicions of having withdrawn more than EUR 2 M in cash from branches of different banks in Bulgaria.
The money were transferred from abroad to the accounts of Bulgarian companies, which in most of the cases had been registered as firms only days before the bank transfers.
The bank transfers were justified with non-existing contractual relations between Bulgarian merchants and European companies.
The “European companies” were not named in statements by the Bulgarian interior ministry and prosecuting authorities released on Thursday.
The money transferred to Bulgaria were withdrawn in cash by Bulgarian citizens between October and 31 December 2015 from more than ten bank branches.
So far, it has been established that more than twenty Bulgarian companies participated in the scheme and more than 25 financial transactions were carried out.
The last withdrawals were foreseen for 30 December 2015 and 4 January 2016.
The specialised operation carried out on December 30 last year prevented the withdrawal of another EUR 5 M.
The Bulgarian chief prosecutor has requested lifting the bank secrecy of the persons and companies suspected of participating in the scheme.
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