Sofia Echo


Arrests after Bobbie Tsankov's murder

Author: Petar Kostadinov Date: Wed, Jan 06 2010 8 Comments, 2451 Views
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Two people have been detained for 24 hours by police following the murder of former radio host Bobbie Tsankov in a Sofia central building at noon on January 5 2010.

The two people in question are Stefan "Sako" Bonev and Krassimir "The Big Margin" Marinov, police said. Police are still searching for Marinov's younger brother, Nikolai Marinov.

They were arrested a few hours after Tsankov was shot dead by two assassins while on the staircase of a building where Tsankov had a meeting with his lawyer. Tsankov's two assailants fled the scene and are still at large.

Tsankov was shot with five bullets, four to the body and the fifth to the head. His two companions were each shot twice and are recovering in hospital. Reportedly, their lives are not in danger.

After the murder, the first public assassination since the current Government of Boiko Borissov took office in July 2009, police searched offices and residential buildings belonging to Krassimir Marinov and his brother Nikolai Marinov, dubbed by the media as "The Big and the Little Margins".

The two brothers and several others are being investigated for ordering the murders of three individuals, two of whom have been killed. The case against them has been ongoing for years and was only stalled in December 2007 because of the poor health of one of the other defendants. The brothers were freed on 20 000 leva bail.

Their names are often linked by Bulgarian media to the underworld as some of the leaders of organised crime in the country.  Speculation had it that Tsankov was on Marinov's payroll.

Stefan "Sako" Bonev, who was also arrested, first appeared in the media in November 2009 when Tsankov complained to police that Bonev, described in Bulgarian media reports as a drug baron, had chased Tsankov with his car in Sofia and had threatened him.

Following the complaint, Bonev was arrested and freed on 1000 leva bail. At the time, Tsankov said that the threats were linked to his as yet unpublished book on organised crime in Bulgaria.

Hours after Tsankov's death, Bonev told private national bTV channel that he had nothing to do with his murder, did not even know Tsankov personally and had never had any intention of threatening him.

Some commentators on Tsankov's murder suggested that he might have been killed in order to divert police attention to Bonev as a way of redistributing the drug market in Sofia.

Meanwhile, Lyudmil Rangelov, lawyer for Nikolai Marinov, told Bulgarian National Radio that speculation about Tsankov being a protected witness in the case against the Marinovi brothers was false.

He was referring to rumours that Tsankov had enjoyed some police protection in exchange for information on Bulgaria's underworld which Tsankov often claimed he knew very well.

In his book, which is already on the market, he said "I was part of the underworld". In the past few months he was a frequent guest on TV shows and wrote accounts of the Bulgarian underworld in one of the country's yellow papers.

However, in the opinion of many critics, most of his stories referred to people who are already dead. Furthermore, they were not based on solid proof or any investigative journalism but, rather, hearsay. In all cases Tsankov described himself as a direct participant and witness in the events he was describing which included money laundering, drug distribution and the plotting of murders.

  • European arrest warrant for Nikolai 'The Little Margin' Marinov
  • Krassimir 'The Big Margin' Marinov again under arrest
  • Thwarted again: court releases Krassimir 'The Big Margin' Marinov from jail
  • U-turn in Bobbie Tsankov murder case
  • Court declares Nikolai 'The Little Margin' Marinov a wanted man
  • Pursuit of Tsankov murder suspects continues
  • Tsankov had 12 convictions for fraud – court records
  • Prosecutors press charges on Bobbie Tsankov's murder
  • Police investigates Bobbie Tsankov murder - in photos
  • Former radio host shot dead in Sofia
    • Anonymous
      Valeri Rating:
      #8 18, 46, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      I agree that there is no good crime, but one has to accept crime as part of life in any country, and if I had choice, this would be the type of crime I'd prefer fort country, as a Bulgarian not a tourist.
      Btw I hardly call this guy's gossiping "involvement". He is not a patriot trying to save his country, but someone trying to cash in on the majority's desire to see things better. His life seems to have been the media version of running the red light
      for excitement and money - you know [...]

      Read the full comment the idiots who make bets like that?
      Sooner or later something would've happen and he is not the first or last in human history to make dumb chioces.

    • Anonymous
      Pantelis Mina Rating:
      #7 13, 39, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      But it is true that tourists are absolutely safe and happy in Bulgaria. God gave the Bulgarian people a "piece of Paradise". He had shared out the whole of Earth to everybody else and forgot the Bulgarians. They complained to him. He responded: "Since there is nothing left on Earth, I am going to give you a piece of my Paradise". This is how the Bulgarians ended up with such a beautiful country.

    • Anonymous
      Pantelis Mina Rating:
      #6 13, 23, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      Valeri, There is no good and bad crime. All crime is bad. Just because only "foxes" are targeted at the moment, it doesn't guarantee that "dogs" are not going to be targeted later. And we are talking about Bulgaria, the country, and it's present and future, from the point of view of the Bulgarian people, and not from a tourist's point of view. Obviously, if you don't get involved you will not be at risk. But unless people get involved, their country will never have a future. It doesn't make any difference if the journalist who was murdered had suspect [...]

      Read the full comment contacts. He was still murdered as a means of silencing him and anybody else who would dare expose the dark forces that practically hold the country to ransom.

    • Anonymous
      Valeri Rating:
      #5 08, 54, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      Just read this:
      "Tsankov was shot with five bullets, four to the body and the fifth to the head. His two companions were each shot twice and are recovering in hospital. Reportedly, their lives are not in danger."

      They didn't even want to kill his bodyguards. Two bullets each, probably in the extremities, probably to neutralize them, otherwise the news wouldn't be so sure that their lives are out of danger. The bodyguards didn't do anything to the person behind the murder. If even bodyguards are not in danger if not targeted, you draw [...]

      Read the full comment conclusions for folks minding their own business...

      I had a friend in the US who's mom and dad were shot dead as they were walking their dog. Police said "gang initiation"... that is disturbing crime, not thugs offing each other....

    • Anonymous
      Valeri Rating:
      #4 08, 44, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      Nothing of the sort Frank.
      It's safer than many western European countries I've been to and if you are not involved with crime, you'd never have a problem.

      This guy seems to have been in the thick of things and writing about and discussing on TV the dating and hygiene habits of known criminals, with whom he's shared a table nonetheless, would get you killed pretty much anywhere.

      One thing about crime in BG is that more often is targeted.
      What was unsettling about crime in other places [...]

      Read the full comment I've lived in, is its random nature. Hatred and anger driven criminals are the worse, because they can shoot your child for the hell of it.
      In all the high profile murders in BG in the last 10 years, there hasn't been one unrelated bystander hurt - correct me someone if I am wrong...

    • Anonymous
      Frank Rating:
      #3 06, 28, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      It sounds as if the mafia has overtaken the country. What is the matter with your government? It must be an awful way to live with these evil people having so much control.

    • Anonymous
      Pantelis Mina Rating:
      #2 01, 25, Thu, Jan 07 2010

      It would not have made any difference if Tsankov was a completely honest man except, probably, that he would have lost his life earlier than what he did. In Bulgaria every journalist is practically held to ransom by some mafia or another. The very few that are brave enough to do a proper job will be murdered one day (even 30-50 metres from the presidential palace). In Bulgaria, not just journalists, but even the average citizen chooses to simply "mind his own business" instead of defending his/her rights and dignity. For example, near a village you can see a whole [...]

      Read the full comment gang of scoundrels cutting the forest and the villagers pretend that they hear nothing and see nothing. Innocently, on one occasion, I went to see what's happening and people told me "they will kill you". In Bulgaria, if you wish to become an investigative journalist and stay alive at the same time, you must make sure that you are completely deaf and blind.

    • Anonymous
      Vincent Rating:
      #1 20, 00, Wed, Jan 06 2010

      Good job !

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