24 Busted in Bulgaria in Operation 'Shock' Remain in Jail

Crime | December 14, 2012, Friday // 13:07
24 Busted in Bulgaria in Operation Shock 2 Remain in Jail: 24 Busted in Bulgaria in Operation 'Shock' Remain in Jail EAW suspect, Stefan Klenovski, is escorted in the courtroom. Photo by BGNES

The Regional Court in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv ruled to leave behind bars 24 of the 26 people arrested in special police operation "Shock 2."

Two are to remain under house arrest since one of them – a woman, has no criminal record, and is taking care of a small child and a sick mother, while the other one – a man, is also without criminal record; has a stable job, and excellent work reviews.

On Monday, Bulgarian and Italian police forces and Europol launched a special operation codenamed "Shock 2" to detain persons under European Arrest Warrants (EAW). 9 people were arrested in Italy.

Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, announced that the police operation was taking place on the territory of Sofia, Stara Zagora, Dobrich, Kyustendil, Blagoevgrad, Pazardzhik, Veliko Tarnovo, and in Italy.

According to information from the Interior Ministry, the arrested Bulgarians were part of an international crime group, which included over 80 members.

The gang ordered equipment from Bulgarian skimmers and then used it at ATMs in Italy, Poland, Denmark, and Germany.

The first special police operation under the code name of "Shock" was carried out in 2011 against a large international ring of credit card fraudsters.

Operation Shock was conducted in the small hours of July 6, 2011 in the cities of Sofia, Kyustendil, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Gabrovo, Stara Zagora, Shumen, Varna and Burgas, and abroad in close cooperation with Europol and the US Secret Service at the request of Italian authorities.

As part of the operation, 46-year-old Stefan Klenovski, who had an EAW issued against him by Italian authorities on suspicions of participating in the crime ring practicing ATM fraud, was arrested on January 27 in a shopping mall in downtown Sofia.

His wife complained of police brutality during the arrest but the CCTV footage indicated no use of excessive force.

On March 7, Klenovski was extradited to Italy pursuant to a decision of the Sofia City Court.

One month later, he was released by an Italian court and returned to Bulgaria.

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Tags: Europol, EAW, european arrest warrant, fraud, ATM, organized crime, Shock, special police operation, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Interior Minister, ATMs
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