A PROMINENT Bulgarian crime writer who chronicled the affairs of the local mafia in a book published two months ago was shot dead in broad daylight on a crowded street in central Sofia yesterday.
The killing of Boris “Bobi” Tsankov (30), well known as a radio presenter, follows a similar fatal attack on another crime writer less than two years ago.
Police said two men who were with Tsankov were shot and critically wounded in the attack, but their injuries are said not to be life-threatening. They were shot by two assailants who fled immediately after the attack.
According to local media reports, Tsankov was routinely accompanied by bodyguards. The same reports said Tsankov himself was the subject of fraud investigations by Bulgarian police between 2003 and 2006.
The latest attack may fuel EU pressure on Bulgaria’s new centre-right government to fulfil commitments to clamp down on the criminal underworld and on corruption in its public service.
The administration of Bulgarian prime minister Boiko Borisov has taken a harder line since coming to power last July, scoring a rare coup against organised crime last month with the arrest of more than two dozen suspected kidnappers.
In 2008 the European Commission blocked €220 million in aid to Bulgaria over concerns about crime and corruption in the country, which joined the EU a year previously.
The aid was released to Bulgaria last year.
Tsankov, whose book, The Secrets of the Mobsters, appeared in November, told police of death threats from a drug boss prior its publication and afterwards. He was injured in a bomb attack on his home in 2006.
Georgi Stoev, another writer of books on the emergence of Bulgaria’s underworld in the 1990s, was gunned down in front of a hotel in central Sofia in April 2008.
There have been more than 150 gangland assassinations in Bulgaria since 2001.