The employee of the 4th Precinct in Sofia, Antoni Apostolov , was caught twice with marked money racketeering businessmen with a “peace fee”. Instead of being charged, he became the main witness of the state prosecution against his colleagues. This mystery has a simple explanation – Apostolov’s family is very close to former Interior Minister Mladen Marinov. The case is indicative of the decomposition in the “Internal Security” of the Ministry of Interior and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office, which conceal crimes committed by the favorites of the government.
Peace of mind fee
At the beginning of 2019, the Internal Security Directorate proceeded to detain employees of the 4th Precinct in Sofia. After the arrests, Hristo Apostolov, who is among the victims of the police, spoke to the media. The pressure on him began in September 2018, when visits by economic police to his hookah bar sharply increased. It was explained to him that everyone else was paying and therefore he had to pay. He told Nova TV that he paid them differently each time – 200, 300 leva or even 400 leva. At one point, there was an agreement for a “peace fee”, the owner paid them 600 leva per month so that they would not inspect his two establishments. After the “agreement” for 3 months he paid approximately BGN 1,800, but after the first payment he filed a signal with the Sofia Directorate of Interior.
After the arrests, the Prosecutor’s Office indicted the Head of the Economic Police Sector Krasimir Krastev and three others – Mario Drinzolov, Georgi Naydenov and Radoslav Tomov. The prosecutor’s office alleges that law enforcement officers collected a “tranquility” fee as an organized criminal group of commercial entities in their area. In the course of the corruption investigation against employees of the Economic Police Sector of the 4th Precinct of the Internal Security Directorate of the Ministry of Interior, two employees managed to reach two employees who physically collected racketeering from owners of cafes and shops in the Lozenets district of Sofia. However, only one of them was detained – Radoslav Tomov, and the other – Antoni Apostolov, became a prosecutor’s witness.
For the media, the operation of the Internal Security Directorate is brilliant because the bad guys are detained. In the judicial phase, however, the situation looks quite different. There are reasonable doubts about an umbrella stretched by “Homeland Security” over Antoni Apostolov.
The details of the pre-trial proceedings came to light in the course of an administrative case with which the Head of the Economic Police Sector in the 4th Precinct, Krasimir Krastev, regretted his disciplinary dismissal from the Ministry of Interior (case 6868/2020 of the AC-Sofia). About 300 pages of pre-trial proceedings conducted in the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office against police officers from the 4th Precinct (1831/2018) were attached to it. In the course of this case, extremely disturbing details about the way “Internal Security” works in the Ministry of Interior became known. They confirm the reputation of the Directorate as a structure for “wet orders”.
On April 19, four witnesses were questioned in open court. From the interrogation of the witness Ivan Boykov Ivanov, who is a racketeering owner of a restaurant, it becomes clear that he has filed a signal with the Ministry of Interior and the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office that an employee of the Economic Police Sector 04 Police Department is racketeering him and asking him for a “peace fee”. According to his application material in the SP, a preliminary investigation was initiated under number 1831/18. Ivanov testified before the administrative court that in the course of the ongoing development of “Internal Security” he twice handed over pre-marked money to an employee of the 4th Precinct – Antoni Apostolov. Once this happened in person and once with the mediation of his employee. With a high probability the money was marked after permission to apply special reconnaissance means (marked money falls into the category of SSDs) at request No 421137-001-12-77-1505/14.11.2018. The permit was issued with permission No 4-3033/15.11.2018 on the inventory of the Specialized Criminal Court. The transfer took place under the supervision and supervision of Homeland Security officials, who by law must document it. Case law requires the understanding that bribery is an active crime and its establishment and implementation should take place at the time of its committment.
The controlled transfer of the marked money happened with the alleged knowledge of the former Minister of the Ministry of Interior – Mladen Marinov. Art. 46 para. 5 of the Ministry of Interior Act states that the Director of the Internal Security Directorate is directly subordinate to the Minister of Interior and reports on his activities to him. Before each operation to detain an employee of the Ministry of Interior, the practice is to report to the Secretary General and the Minister of Interior on the forthcoming implementation, the ongoing development and use of SSDs. It is practically impossible to accept that Marinov was not aware of the operation. The surrender also occurs with the mandatory knowledge of the “master of pre-trial proceedings”. In this case, these are the supervising prosecutors from the SP – the famous Angel Kanev and Hristina Hristova. All procedural investigative actions to document criminal activity are conducted under the direction, supervision and disposition of the supervising prosecutors. Certainly, the details of the operation were kept up to date with the Director of Homeland Security, as his employee Yanko Yankov leads the operational work.
Despite the presence of “Internal Security”, in the face of Yankov and his colleagues, the person receiving the bribe – Antoni Svetlin Apostolov – was not realized (detained). And so at least twice. Apostol received a bribe with marked money, this bribe was documented and equipped under the Law on Surveillance for Security, but the officer was not detained during the commission of the crime. After each delivery of the racketeering, without subsequent detention, the witness Ivan Ivanov gives explanations to the SP. From the testimony of Ivanov and his employee Kusai Hamdo it is established that even before the start of the operation the two had repeatedly paid racketeering to Antoni Apostolov. They told investigators that he alone collected a “peace fee” from them. Through the testimony of another witness – Georgi Stoilchev Georgiev, it is established that he too has been racketeered many times and the “fee” is again collected by Antoni Svetlin Aposotolov. For one year he paid him BGN 15,600 racketeering, and in case of delay he paid him interest.
In the course of the investigation against the group of 4 Police Precinct, it is unclear how, after two accepted and documented bribes, Apostolov became a witness for the prosecution, not a defendant. In these proceedings, the prosecution does not suffer from a lack of witnesses. At least two restaurant owners point to Apostolov as the person to whom they handed over the racketeering. Instead, three others are charged instead of him, for whom before an objective court the prosecution would find it very difficult to prove its accusations. Thus, the question arises who and why ordered Antoni Apostolov not to be detained upon receipt of a controlled bribe, handed over in accordance with the procedure specified in the Law on Emergency Security, twice? It is not clear what happened to the marked money and other material evidence from the application of SSDs to Apostolov.
At the time of the operation since the beginning of 2019, the young employee has not reached the age of 30. He started working in the 04th Precinct on 16 03 2015 as an inspector in the Sector “Combating Economic Crime”. His mother , Ekaterina Apostolova, is not just an employee of the Ministry of Interior. She is a lecturer at the Center for Specialization and Vocational Training – Sofia. Pazardzhik more popular in the recent past, that the “sergeant” police school “Felix E. Dzerzhinsky“.
Apostolova is said to be very close to Mladen Marinov, who is also a “graduate” of the sergeant. The closeness between the two is not a secret for the composition of the school, because every time he visits there as a minister, Marinov spends hours to talk with Apostolova. Before the end of GERB’s mandate, the lady is identified as a potential new director of the school.
Witnesses who requested anonymity commented that when Apostolov was appointed to the 4th Precinct, the then Director of the Sofia Directorate of the Interior – Mladen Marinov told senior officials that Apostolov was like a son and they should take care of him. However, Apostolov’s acquaintance and close relationship with the Interior Minister were confirmed by his own testimony before the Administrative Court. The only thing the young man doesn’t remember is he taking a racketeering.
Probably at the heart of the relationship between the Apostolov family and Mladen Marinov stands Lieutenant Colonel Svetlin Apostolov – Antoni’s father. From the circles of the sergeant school claim that Apostolov was a platoon of Marinov while studying there. He died under very strange circumstances in 2003. He was shot together with another lecturer – Senior Lieutenant Paulina Stoilova on September 11. They both taught at the Center for Vocational Training of the National Border Police Service in Pazardzhik (then the school was called that). The likely perpetrator of the murders is their colleague – Captain Stanimir Yordanov. The man committed suicide a day later on Trakia Motorway, near Novi Han. As is most often the case in such cases, the official version and conspiracy theories on the case differ greatly, but they are not the subject of this article.
We contacted Mladen Marinov for comment on exactly what his relationship with Antoni Apostolov was before the start of the operation by “Internal Security”. However, he did not answer our calls. The GERB press office also failed to organize the requested interview with him. DVS employee Yani Petkov Yankov declined to comment, and the last director of the State Gazette – Stefcho Bankov said that at the time of the operation in question he was not a director of the unit. Our team failed to contact the prosecutor Angel Kanev, despite our numerous attempts to find him on his office phone in the SP.
The existence of confirmed closeness between Marinov and Apostolov justifies the hypothesis of unregulated unofficial actions to prevent the detention of Apostolov. Yani Petkov Yankov does not have freedom to act because he is just a regular employee. Probably, the prosecution could also bring charges against Antoni Apostolov at the current stage of the investigation, but this is unlikely. The events surrounding the refusal to detain Apostolov, however, clearly illustrate the level of legality and integrity of the actions of “Internal Security”. And this directorate is one of the units that are listed as potentially responsible for unauthorized wiretapping of opposition politicians and civic activists during the rule of Boyko Borisov. Apparently, the directorate acts now as an umbrella, now as a bat, and the cover-up of crimes is not alien to its employees.
Photo: Bulphoto ©
Щом сте стигнали дотук, вероятно вече си задавате въпроса как се финансира този журналистически проект.
От създаването си BIRD се финансираше от подаяния в нашето журналистическо чекмедже.
Но на чекмеджето му мина времето. Даже прокуратурата затвори онова Чекмедже, знаете кое…
Нашето финансиране влиза в крак с епохата. Фондонабиращата ни кампания вече се казва
Дарявай за BIRD и мятай павета в блатото с корумпирани политици и други тарикати.
Те тайно премятат пари от твоя джоб в своя. Те размятат безнаказано лукса си пред очите на всички. Няма кой да ги накаже ако се надяваш на държавата.
Мятай, за да ги накажеш ти. Да дариш за разследващите журналисти е гаранция, че гадостите, с които силните на деня те замерят, ще им се върнат.
Можеш да метнеш веднъж, за да ти олекне!
Но по-добре е да мяташ редовно всеки месец и да се чувстваш трайно удовлетворен.
А най-добре е да доведеш приятели и да мятаме редовно заедно в екип. С мощен залп!
*За кръстник на новата ни фондонабираща кампания избрахме другарката Ваня. Благодарим й за вдъхновението!
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