Bulgaria's operation Octopus, during which 13 people were arrested on February 10 on charges of economic offences, influence peddling, racketeering, procuring, offering of sexual services for money, money laundering and tax evasion, has yielded the first punitive sentence, albeit in the form of a fine.
Bulgaria's Environment Ministry said on March 5 that it imposed a 3000 leva fine, the highest amount possible, on Plamen and Yordan Stoyanov, for keeping exotic wildlife without a licence. The two brothers, known also as the Dambovtsi brothers, kept three tigers and a jaguar.
According to the ministry statement, Bulgaria's Animal Protection Act allows only licensed zoos and wildlife facilities, which the Stoyanovs house was not, to keep feline predators.
The jaguar and female tiger were confiscated and allocated to the Sofia Zoo. One male tiger was sent to the Stara Zagora Zoo and the other is in the Blagoevgrad Zoo, the ministry said.