Bulgaria's Sunny Beach 'Is State within State' - Chief Prosecutor

Crime | July 12, 2016, Tuesday // 10:53
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Sunny Beach 'Is State within State' - Chief Prosecutor Bulgaria's Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov. File photo, BGNES

Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov has called the resort of Sunny Beach "a state within the state" and has described the seaside as a "swamp" of criminal activity.

His comments follow a shooting in the Black Sea resort that left one man dead and three others, including an alleged drug lord, heavily wounded.

It was only weeks later that the prosecution announced the attack targeting Dimitar Zhelyazkov, a.k.a. Ochite ("The Eyes"), was carried out by a criminal gang, instead of having followed a dispute over a parking lot, as it initially suggested.

On Tuesday, Tsatsarov told private national NOVA TV station that the investigator working on the case had been removed from office as it turned out he was running a business at the same time while working for the investigative office.

He also made clear the incident with Zhelyazkov had revealed the scale of criminal activity in Sunny Beach, a resort popular with foreign tourists.

"Sunny Beach is an economic and administrative state within the state. There isn't a single territory there which doesn't bring financial revenues. War there is not only over drugs, but over ice cream stalls, taxi stops, and any other piece of land."

"Allegations that the prosecution hit one gang to protect another are not true. One has to act this way against blatant criminal activity... If all that fuss hadn't occurred, no-one would find out that the sea is actually a swamp," Tsatsarov went on.

He also commented on other issues such as the court's decision to acquit former Deputy Parliament Speaker Hristo Biserov on several charges, opining the prosecution "did its job".

Lack of sentences for high-profile politicians in Bulgaria has been attributed by some parties and experts over the past years to flaws in the Prosecutor's Office.

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Tags: Sotir Tsatsarov, Hristo Biserov, Dimitar Zhelyazkov, ochite, Sunny Beach
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