A criminal group for the export of goods with possible dual use, exported for the military operations on the territory of Ukraine, was discovered by Bulgarian auhtorities. This was announced yesterday at a joint press conference in Plovdiv by Deputy Prosecutor General Maria Pavlova, Zhivko Kotsev, Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Chairman of the State Agency “National Security” (SANS) Plamen Tonchev and Vanya Hristeva, District Prosecutor of Plovdiv.
“These products are not intended for the regular Russian army. These products are intended for the special forces that fight on the territory of Ukraine. The possible end users of the products in the Russian Federation are the elite troops ’26th special purpose unit’, known as Rosgvardiya, the naval infantry, the Private Military Company ‘Wagner’, the ‘Akhmat’ battalion and others“, explained the chairman of SANS Plamen Tonchev.
“On the territory of several regional cities on Monday, numerous investigative actions were carried out. An organized criminal group was discovered and neutralized. It was created with a selfish goal – obtaining a monetary benefit. It was engaged in the export of dual-use goods from Bulgaria to the Russian Federation in violation of the sanctions imposed by the EU in connection with the war in Ukraine. One of the organizers registered a trading company in the city of Plovdiv. The company purchased various types of dual-use goods with a total value of about 4 million leva – optical sights, ballistic meters, aviation radio stations and others, which were stored in a residential property. There they were repackaged and prepared for export from Sofia airport to the Russian Federation,” explained Deputy Prosecutor General Maria Pavlova.
She reported that all 12 members of the criminal group were detained.
“Five persons, all citizens of foreign countries, have been charged,” she added.
“They traded in these goods and technologies, they exported them for the military operations in Ukraine. There are 12 detained persons, 5 of them are foreign citizens. Three of them are from the Russian Federation, one Albanian citizen and one Belarusian citizen,” said Zhivko Kotsev, Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
He announced that during the investigative actions in Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv and Veliko Tarnovo, many pieces of evidence related to the criminal activity of the persons were seized.
Plamen Tonchev indicated that SANS received operational information about the illegal transfer of goods with possible dual use. This was an international network built by foreign citizens with the aim of making illegal supplies of dual-use goods – with civil and military application – from European countries to the Russian Federation. The exported goods were used for the military operations in Ukraine.
The measures of the five detainees are expected to be reviewed today.
At the moment, it is being clarified how the activity was financed. The group was found to be active from 2022 until October 9, when a specialized operation was carried out that neutralized the group.
“12 persons were detained, and subsequently 5 persons were brought to criminal responsibility – foreign citizens from the Russian Federation, an Albanian citizen and a Belarusian citizen. Today, a request will be submitted and the measures of the detainees will be considered for taking the most severe measure of remand ‘detention under guard’ regarding the five persons brought to criminal responsibility“, explained Vanya Hristeva, district prosecutor of Plovdiv.
At the moment, only foreign citizens are brought to criminal responsibility, while the participation of other persons is also being clarified.
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