Convicted Bulgarian Mobsters Fled to Africa Stacked up with Millions - Report
Mobsters Angel Hristov and Plamen Galev, better known as the Galevi brothers, have fled Bulgaria with fake passports and forty million levs in cash, according to local media reports.
Just a day after the notorious pair was sentenced by Bulgaria's Supreme Court to serve time in jail, the two underground bosses entered Greece with fake passports, riding one of their luxurious cars, and flew to South Africa, locals told Struma daily.
The fake passports they used have triggered speculations that an Interior Ministry official assisted in their runway plan.
A nationwide search warrant was issued for them on Tuesday.
Meanwhile 3 other defendants in the same case have already been jailed in the prison in the western town of Bobovdol.
On May 3, Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassations upheld Galevi's jail sentences issued by a lower instance.
The magistrates, however, reduced Galev's sentence by two years and Hristov's by one on grounds they have clean criminal records and are known for charitable activities. Galev will thus serve 5 years behind bars while Hristov will be in jail for 4 years, both on charges of participating in an organized crime group dealing with racket and extortion. The rule is final and cannot be appealed.
In the beginning of July 2011, the Sofia Appellate Court surprisingly reversed the trial against Galevi, sentencing them to a total of 12 years in jail - Plamen Galev to 7 years in prison, and Angel Hristov – to 5.
In addition, Galev was sentenced to a fine of BGN 10 000 and confiscation of 1/3 of his properties and assets, and Hristov – to a fine of BGN 7000, and confiscation of 1/4 of his properties and assets for the benefit of the state.
The two were appealing the sentence with the Supreme Court of Cassations, which is the last instance.
Hristov and Galev, known as the Galevi brothers (they don't have a family relation) are alleged to be two of Bulgaria's most notorious gangsters.
Back in November 2010, the Regional Court in the southwestern city of Kyustendil acquitted them of all charges – including heading an organized crime group, racketeering, and extortion on the grounds with they were being tried on rumors, not real evidence.
Four other men were also sentenced as members of the organized crime group led by Galevi.
In February 2011, the Chair of the Regional Court in the southwestern Bulgarian city of Kyustendil, Miroslav Nachev, published his motives for the acquittal of the notorious pair of alleged mafia bosses from the town of Dupnitsa listed on 108 pages.
The publication was released after Judge Nachev was called by the Supreme Judicial Council (VSS) to give explanations about the delay of writing the motives. He had had a December 4 deadline, as provided by the Penal Code.
Nachev has offered the explanation that case has been very cumbersome with 150 interrogated witnesses and 12 volumes of documentation and that as the Court Chair he also had to prepare the annual report at that exact same time – the end of 2010.
The two mafia bosses are believed to hold the citizens of Dupnitsa on a leash, as their jobs and prosperity depend on the two burly former policemen with shady background and businesses.
The Galevi trial, launched in September 2009, came in the wake of a large-scale and flashy raid by what appeared to be the state army, which rummaged offices, auto-houses and apartments in the capital Sofia, Pernik and Dupnitsa.
In mid-June 2009, the Galevi brothers walked out of jail after both were allowed to run at the general elections and thus receiving immunity from prosecution. They failed to win seats in the 41st General Assembly, but were still free on bail.
Just days ago, the Regional Court in the western city of Kyustendil declared Plamen Galev guilty in a claim he had insulted local politicians during a regional TV program.
Together with Hristov, they will pay BGN 4 000 each in damages to the claimants.
The magistrates decided that Galev had supported Hristov's on air statements where he called Milen Popov and Metodi Stoynev, municipal councilors from the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, idiots and clowns.
In November 2010, the Regional Court in Dupnitsa declared only Hristov guilty and sentenced him to pay a fine in the amount of BGN 4 500 along with Court expenses and BGN 2 000 to each of the claimants.
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