New York, January 5, 2010—Bulgarian prosecutors must thoroughly investigate today’s murder in Sofia of Bobi Tsankov, author of a new book and a series of newspaper articles detailing the activities of reputed crime figures, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
At least two gunmen opened fire on Tsankov, 30, and two other men on busy
Tsankov died at the scene while the other two men—identified by the daily Dnevnik as Tsankov’s bodyguards—were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Sofia Prosecutor Nikolai Kokinov told reporters that 15 bullet casings were found at the crime scene.
Late today, a Ministry of Internal Affairs task force arrested three reputed crime bosses, Stefan (Sako, or the Jacket) Bonev and brothers Krasimir and Nikolai Marinov, the English-language Sofia News Agency reported. No charges were disclosed.
“We condemn the contract-style killing of Bobi Tsankov and
urge Bulgarian authorities to act swiftly and resolutely in apprehending and
prosecuting all responsible for this crime,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia
Beginning in September, Tsankov wrote a series of articles in the tabloid Weekend that purported to reveal the activities of Bulgarian crime figures, according to local press reports. The latest article, published Friday, alleged that reputed crime boss Meto Ilienski had ordered the killing of a rival, Zhoro Iliev.
Tsankov had made similar accusations in November on the popular Nova Televiziya show “Goreshto” (Hot). The show’s host, Veneta Raikova, said she had talked with Tsankov on Monday to discuss details of another appearance, the Sofia News Agency reported. Raikova said she understood Tsankov was going to reveal details about the recent killings of three other Bulgarian crime chiefs, the news agency reported.
One of today’s suspects, Bonev, was arrested in November for
allegedly threatening the author during and after a wild car chase through the
In his book, “The Secrets of the Gangsters,” published in December, Tsankov claimed to have had close relationships with several crime bosses who were killed in recent years. He was preparing a new book about the activities of a drug-trafficking group, press reports said.
A former Viva Radio host, Tsankov gained notoriety several
years ago after a number of people accused him of taking money for advertising
that he did not air, according to press reports. In June 2006, a