Convicted Bulgarian Mobsters Fled to the Seychelles - Report
Interpol-wanted convicted mobsters Angel Hristov and Plamen Galev, better known as the Galevi brothers, have fled to the Seychelles, local media reports say as a sense of thriving impunity continues to gain momentum in Bulgaria.
The pair are well known to be top mafia lords, failed MP wannabes and benefactors of Dupnitsa, a sleepy, impoverished and dilapidated Bulgarian town at the foot of the Rila mountain, some 60 km south of Sofia.
The notorious pair was sentenced by Bulgaria's Supreme Court to serve time in jail at the beginning of May on racketeering charges.
A few days later the two underground bosses vanished and were declared wanted by the local authorities and Interpol or at least this is what Bulgaria's Interior Ministry claims.
Previous reports said the Galevi brothers entered Greece with fake passports, riding one of their luxurious cars, and flew to South Africa.
Even before the court trial it was a public secret that the Galevi brothers are mafia bosses who 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.
They have managed to capitalize on the weakness of the state and the local authorities, merging with them and making out of Dupnitsa a stronghold of their own, called Galevgrad.
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.
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 that they were tried on rumors, not real evidence.
Four other men were also sentenced as members of the organized crime group led by Galevi.
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.
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