Eight Arrested in Spy Scandal; Money Laundering Scheme Uncovered
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Eight Arrested in Spy Scandal;
September 11 (BTA) - Eight people were taken into 24-hour custody and were handed over to investigators working on a spy scandal which broke out on Monday, Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said in the National Assembly on Wednesday. Upon a request from the Specialized Prosecution Office, the police provided cooperation by conducting searches and impounding items in Sofia and the nearby towns of Pernik and Breznik, Marinov said.
In the spy scandal, the chairman of the Russophiles National Movement has been charged with espionage and a retired Russian intelligence general has been barred from entering Bulgaria for 10 years.
Also on Wednesday, State Agency for National Security (SANS) President Dimiter Georgiev said that during investigative action ordered by the prosecution service into crimes affecting Bulgaria's financial and credit system, SANS uncovered a money laundering scheme which was used for money transfers by the Russian leader of the Double-Headed Eagle Society, based in Russia. Evidence indicates that the scheme has served to fund activities directly affecting Bulgaria's national security, Georgiev said.
The foreign nationals heading the two organizations identified as involved in the case, have publicly declared that they are waging a hybrid war against the West, Georgiev went on to say. One of them figures on the US and EU sanction lists against Russia because he has carried out actions against Ukraine's territorial integrity, and the other one is a high-ranking officer of an intelligence service of a foreign country. The foreign nationals were found to have worked jointly and in a coordinated manner.
Russophiles National Movement Chairman Nikolai Malinov has maintained contact with these foreign nationals for many years and has travelled many times to Russia, where he met with them and was told to carry out certain tasks, and sometimes received money. At one point, Malinov compiled a report in Russian about the perceived need for Bulgaria to change its geopolitical orientation and about the so-called Bulgaria Project. The report recommended raising more than half a billion euro in financial resources for the project and suggested that this could be done via Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev. IG/VE