Life Partner of Bulgarian Prosecutor General Linked to Organized Crime, Controversial Energy Mogul

The woman, who is the life partner Bulgaria’s Prosecutor Ivan Geshev, has an impressive career from a pole dancer to a lawyer and has worked along the way for a leader of an organized crime group and for a company of controversial Bulgarian energy mogul Hristo Kovachki, an investigation by Bivol found. A previous investigation revealed how she used property tricks to acquire an apartment for a record low price from top prosecutorial witness Alexander Vaklin.

Kidnapped by Yuri Galev

Detelina Filipova Hancheva (in the headline photo on the right) is a native of the town of Sevlievo in central Bulgaria. She made the news in 2002 when she was a dancer in a nightclub in the winter resort of Borovets and was kidnapped by Yuri Galev, the infamous gangster from the nearby town of Samokov. Current Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, then the Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior, announced that Galev had kidnapped two young female dancers from a night club and had taken them to an apartment in the capital Sofia. According to publications from that time, Galev forcibly dragged one of the girls to his Mercedes, while the other ran after them and also got into the car. The night club’s manager reported the incident to the local police station, telling them that the dancers had been abducted. Meanwhile, one of the abducted girls managed to send a text message with her mobile phone that she was in trouble. The police acted immediately and detained the kidnapper a few hours later in his apartment in Sofia where they also found the young dancers. Galev was initially arrested on suspicions of kidnapping and rape, but was charged with fornication. He spent more than a month in pre-trial detention.

The investigator in the case against Galev was the current Prosecutor General of Bulgaria Ivan Geshev. It remains unclear how some of the evidence incriminating Galev disappeared in the course of the investigation. Hancheva also disappeared from the case. As is most often the case with Geshev, the defendant was acquitted.
Around that time, witnesses also spotted Geshev and Galev several times together in restaurants frequented by the latter. Yuri Galev was shot with seven bullets and died in 2012.

Bivol sent questions to Geshev about these events via the press office of the prosecution but 24 hours later we still have not received a reply or reaction, which we interpret as a “silent refusal”.

Working for “The Killers 2”

Meanwhile, the future Prosecutor General and one of the kidnapped victims, Detelina Hancheva became intimate and life partners. Geshev has two daughters with her. After the end of her poll dancing stint, Hancheva’s professional career can be traced from data that leaked from the National Revenue Agency (NRA) in the summer of 2019. It shows that the company Merexpress of notorious Roma baron Stancho Vladov has been paying her social benefits.

Stancho Vladov was a defendant for contracting the murder of Roma leader Tani Tanev. Tanev was shot dead on February 12, 2008, in front of his restaurant in the town of Dolni Dabnik in central northern Bulgaria. The case against Vladov and three other men is known as “The Killers 2”. It was led by the Special Prosecutor’s Office and became one of the many failures of this institution and of the Ministry of Interior. Vladov and the other two defendants were charged with contracting Tanev’s murder and being the masterminds of the sinister plot. According to the indictment, they hired a third person to carry out Tanev’s execution. The public prosecution outlined as a motive Tanev blackmailing Vladov by threatening to expose property frauds he had been involved in.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Stancho Vladov paid BGN 50,000 for Tanev’s murder. The two had known each other for a long time and had worked together and at one point had some unresolved financial rows. According to publication in the 24 Chassa (24 Hours) daily, while doing joint business with Vladov, Tanev had become aware of the former’s involvement in property fraud in Sofia since 2005.

Until his arrest, Stancho Vladov’s main business was international transport through the company Merexpress. After his detention, the company experienced financial troubles and many of its assets were sold off to cover debts to banks.

According to acquaintances, Vladov currently has only a few trucks running local courses in Germany. Sources of 24 Chassa claim that before his arrest, Vladov’s unofficial business was a large network of pickpockets and beggars working across Europe. According to other unofficial claims, his trucks had been used for drug trafficking.

Vladov is said to be close to another Roma ringleader, Lyubomir Iliev. Iliev was investigated in 2003 for a bomb attack on Tani Tanev. According to investigators, the explosion had been planned over Tanev’s debt of BGN 100,000 to Iliev. In early January 2012, Lyubomir Iliev was detained on charges of plotting to assassinate a prosecutor, a Roma clan leader and a homicide police chief from the General Directorate National Police but was acquitted on all instances for lack of evidence.

Business activity with a friend of Geshev

In 2012, Detelina Hancheva founded the company OTEA together with several other partners. One of them is Mario Karkovski‘s company “M Consult 95”. Karkovski is a longtime friend of Ivan Geshev. Documents released by the Special Prosecutor’s Office in response to an alert from the Civic Association Boets (Fighter) that the former manager of the company that sold the cheap apartment to Detelina Hancheva was a longtime friend of Ivan Geshev read the following:

“The data in the file establishes that Ivan Geshev has known Karkovski for many years and the two are on friendly terms.”
The long-standing friendly relations between Karkovski and Geshev are not described in detail by the investigators.

In fact, Geshev’s “friend” Mario Karkovski and construction developer Alexander Vaklin are partners in companies investing in several properties in Sofia’s Zone B-17 district. The main company is “MS Consult 2004″ Ltd., in which Vaklin and Karkovski are co-owners. It finances the other companies with loans.

In 2010-2011, Karkovski’s newly established company MS Consult 2010 received loans from MS Consult 2004 to finance its construction of a residential building and in 2014 Detelina Hancheva bought a cheap apartment in it.

Kovachki’s legal adviser and recently a lawyer

Along with her business activities, the former dancer managed to obtain a law degree from the Southwestern University in the southwestern city of Blagoevgrad, a famous “hatchery” for lawyers such as the former investigator and current controversial media mogul and lawmaker Delyan Peevski. Hancheva practices law as a legal consultant for an insurance company associated with the “energy consultant” Hristo Kovachki. This is evident from court documents showing that Hancheva has represented the company OZK Zastrahovane (OZK – Insurance).

Hancheva also registered as a lawyer in June 2019. A reporter of Bivol contacted her on her mobile phone, which can be found in the Commercial Register. When he introduced himself and asked her to answer a few questions, she ended the conversation.

Bivol also visited Hancheva’s family house in the town of Sevlievo. She owns the first floor of the house. The Prosecutor General’s family often stays there during holidays, although Geshev has not declared the use of the property, as required by law.

Even from the outside one can see that the property has been seriously renovated and that it is carefully guarded. The sidewalk in front of the house has been freshly repaired.

Geshev and organized crime

This is not the first time when connections of Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev with persons from the underground and organized crime come to light. Prior to his election in 2019, Bivol published an investigation and recordings revealing how he negotiated with the organized crime group “The Untouchables” to reach an agreement on lenient sentences. One of the defendants was even deleted from the case.

Companies and structures associated with energy mogul Hristo Kovachki are also involved in this case. This is evident from intercepted contacts of one of the defendants, Vladko Dimitrov, with Kovachki’s employees and from the numerous donations to Kovachki’s political party “Leader”, made by the people investigated in “The Untouchables” case, including destitute Roma. The “untouchable donors” transferred a total of BGN 125,000 to the party for the 2009 European elections.

The revelation that while Geshev had been negotiating with “The Untouchables”, his life partner had been a legal adviser for Kovachki’s company is a new element in this saga and once again raises questions about conflict of interests and influence peddling. The same questions arise around the cases of Yuri Galev and Stancho Vladov, to which Geshev is either a directly or indirectly connected as an investigator and head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office.

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