Ex Anti-Mafia Cop Bullies Bulgarian Journalist

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Threats and ugly intimidation, accompanied by obscene language used by the former Head of the Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime (GDBOP), Stanimir Florov – this is what journalist Katya Ilieva had to endure immediately after participating in the TV talk show “Slavi’s Show” on January 10, 2018, during which she criticized the capacity of the authorities to investigate contract killings.

She commented on the recent brazen, broad daylight murder in Sofia of Petar Hristov, a well-known businessman, close to former Interior Minister and second in command in the ruling party Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB), Tsvetan Tsvetanov, and to Florov, himself. It is believed that Hristov has provided significant help for the arrests of the members of the organized crime group “The Killers”, but Ilieva explained that he has actually helped to neutralize another group, known as “The Impudent”.

“He brought a person with a criminal record to the Interior Ministry to tell what he knew about the group. This is it,” is how she summed up the involvement of the murdered businessman.

At the same time, Ilieva provided shocking facts about how no one defends witnesses and employees of the Interior Ministry who have helped to convict criminals in “The Killers” case; to the contrary, these people have been dismissed during GERB’s term in office, pressured and defamed in media friendly to the government.

“On whom and what can we rely and how to believe that contract killings will be solved since they are indicative of the synergy between the mafia and the State?! That is the truth,” Ilieva concluded.

Obviously, her words have seriously angered the ex-Head of the GDBOP, Stanimir Florov, who did not spare offensive and obscene descriptions of the journalist in a conversation that Bivol’s Assen Yordanov, also a participant in the show, involuntary witnessed.

From what the former police boss said, it became clear that he approves of the “baseball bat” methods of the power for intimidating journalists. According to him, “someone could cook up a little case against Ilieva” to find out who the sources of our colleague are.

Even more shocking is that, according to Florov, such “little cases” are decided through “you giving some money to someone around you to give money” to “weather the storm”, as he, himself, stated.

We publish this part of the recording with the explicit consent of Katya Ilieva.



Stanimir Florov: You know, you are very wrong.

Katya Ilieva: I am wondering who you are, I no longer know you?

Stanimir Florov: Yes, you can wonder or not wonder, wonder, wonder very much. I am sick and tired of…

Katya Ilieva: People like me.

Stanimir Florov: Yes, people like you, journalists who distort public opinion, talk shit, yes, yes, I will tell you exactly. This is exactly what pisses me off.

Katya Ilieva: Those ruling the country…

Stanimir Florov: You talk only nonsense.

Katya Ilieva: Only the journalists?

Stanimir Florov: You manipulate society, with this…

Katya Ilieva: Really?

Stanimir Florov: Who do you think you are? From where? You have been a mere spokesperson for the GDBOP and a PR officer. How do you know such operational information, you, the nobody? I am only asking you. How do you know that information? If I were someone investigating, I would have summoned you to ask you: How do you know these things, you, the nobody?

Katya Ilieva: Do I have to tell you?

Stanimir Florov: Not to me.

Katya Ilieva: And who should I tell? To whom do I owe?

Stanimir Florov: If they summon you, you must tell.

Katya Ilieva: Is that so? Which law obliges me to reveal my sources? Sorry, but if you know the European directives, I think you will understand that you are not exactly right. At the moment.

Stanimir Florov: Yes, but if someone cooks up a little case against you, you will tell.

Katya Ilieva: Who is someone?

Stanimir Florov: Someone in general. Someone, if he decides to cook up a little case against you… To weather the storm and not give some money to someone around you to give money…

Katya Ilieva: Who is someone?

Stanimir Florov: You will sing, you will give the information.

Katya Ilieva: Who, for example?

Stanimir Florov: Otherwise, you will have to shell some money.

Katya Ilieva: No…

Stanimir Florov: You will shell some money to find out what is going on…

Rulers against journalists: From “reveal your sources” to operational surveillance

Stanimir Florov was the Head of the GDBOP during the first term in office of GERB and Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov and he is very close to Tsvetan Tsvetanov and former judge Vladimir Yaneva, notoriously known from the “Yaneva Gate” scandal. This is not the first time when he is attacking journalists over their sources.



Family friends: Vladimiar Yaneva, Stanimir Florov and Tsvetan Tsvetanov at a pop rock concert of another friend – singer Vesselin Marinov. The picture was sent by a reader of the site Dnevnik. Tsvetanov is also Florov’s best man.

“During the improvised phone scandal that he staged, the Director of the GDBOP asked me several times about my source,” said a reporter whose testimony Bivol published in April 2013.

Prime Minister Borisov has also admitted of the opportunity to launch “little cases” against journalists, even secret ones, to keep them in line. This happened after the revelation of Bivol that Borisov has been an agent of the  Central Services for Combatting Organized Crime (CSBOP), the predecessor of the GDBOP, under the codename “Buddha” and in 1997, an Operational Surveillance Case was launched against him because he was considered part of the underworld.

Today, I can order the services to launch such cases against all journalists,” he bragged to reporters, not only admitting that he had been tailed by the anti-mafia police, but also causing outrage among the guild and international human rights organizations.

The National Security Agency’s (DANS) strike against the The Dangerous News site, the scandalous Galeria case, and operation “BUDDHAli” (wordplay, as budali in Bulgarian means fools – editor’s note) against Bivol’s journalists complete this awkward series of interferences, to which should be added the total inaction of the institutions in cases of physical attacks against journalists. As Katya Ilieva revealed, after Frog News’ editor-in-chief, Ognyan Stefanov, was brutally beaten and miraculously survived, he had not even been questioned. This is way too indicative of the zeal of the services in searching for the perpetrators. In reality, there is complete impunity for anyone who decides to intimidate and silence the press.

Florov and the “Arabs”

Florov “rose to stardom” for being involved in a partnership with the organized crime he was tasked to fight. He was exposed in leaked documents from an operation, codenamed “Arabs” of the National Investigative Services (NSS) from 1999. Florov was then an employee of the Narcotics Unit of the anti-mafia police, and the counter-intelligence on him showed that he had crossed the line to “the other side” and had been protecting drug traffickers.

The following is written in the proposal for launching a probe by the NSS in the “Arabs” case:

“According to unverified operational information, reflected in memo N ° B-5713/27.09.99, Florov has worked on the “Opitsvet” case together with the subject of the probe and has made the commitment to warn the parties in case of threats against them against 20,000 German marks.”

Despite the scandal, the prosecution’s investigation against Florov was silently terminated a few years later. So far, he has not gotten a new high-level administrative position, despite rumors that Borisov’s new cabinet is planning to appoint him to lead the Executive Agency “Automobile Administration” (DAI).

The shocking recording of Florov, unleashing his anger against the journalist, emerges against the backdrop of the just-started Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and numerous publications in the Western press that point to Bulgaria as a corrupt State where freedom of speech is dismal. However, this recording also contains other, very serious evidence of senior police officers’ ties with people from the underworld that will be made public in the sequel of this story.



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