Two unidentified men shot Stoev, author of a popular series of books on the rise of Bulgaria’s criminal underworld after the fall of communism. Stoev, 35, was walking on a busy street near the Pliska Hotel in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, when the assailants shot him at close range, the independent news Web site Mediapool reported. Stoev was taken to Pirogov Hospital, where he underwent surgery but died later that day. The assailants fled the scene.
According to local news reports, Stoev was a former bodyguard and a retired member of the notorious racketeering group VIS, which extorted money from private businesses. He wrote nine books, all chronicling the history of organized crime. One, The BG Godfather: The Real Story of Madzho, detailed the activities of crime boss Mladen Mikhalev, also known as Madzho. According to the independent news site Sofia Echo, Stoev told several Bulgarian interviewers that he was willing to testify that Mikhalev had directed him to carry out murders. Stoev claimed he did not follow through on the assignments.
Stoev’s publisher, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, said on April 7 that he believed the writer was killed “by his characters,” local press reports said. The Bulgarian news agency Novinite said Stoev presented Nedyalkov with a copy of his book The BG Godfather and said: “I give you this book, for which I will be killed.” Sofia City Prosecutor Nikolai Kokinov told television channel bTV that authorities had offered Stoev “every possible protection as legislated by the code of criminal procedure,” but the writer had refused.