Notorious radio journalist Bobi Tzankov was shot dead on a street in central Sofia at noon on January 3. Tzankov had been prosecuted nearly 70 times for fraud and was well-connected to some of Bulgaria’s most prominent crime bosses. It was the third attempt on his life. At the time of his assassination, he was preparing to publish his second book on organized crime in Bulgaria. Shortly after Tzankov’s was killed, Krasimir Marinov, one of the so-called Marguin brothers, was arrested on charges of ordering the murder. Police are still searching for his brother Nikolay Marinov, a.k.a. the Little Marguin. It is unclear whether police have identified the hit man. According to a Bulgarian newspaper, an ATM camera caught the face of Tzankov’s murderer, whom authorities have identified as Rizhia (The Redhead), a criminal with a long rap sheet. However, Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general said police do not know who the actual assassins were.
Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk
The public manner of Tzankov’s assassination and the fact that the hit men got away shows that police were slow to react. Moreover, the fact that police had enough information to charges the Marinov brothers before they have even identified the actual murderer(s) reveals that authorities had been monitoring the Marinovs, yet took no measures to protect Tzankov. It is clear that the chain of command in the Interior Ministry remains broken despite its new management under the government of the Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria (GERB). Similar incidents have seriously damaged the both the government’s and the country’s image in the past. We expect more problems from the Interior Ministry that will potentially smear the government’s image.