Alleged Bulgarian Mobster Brothers Acquitted of Murder
Bulgaria's Supreme Court of Cassations acquitted Thursday alleged mobsters Krasimir and Nikolay Marinovi aka The Marguin Brothers on charges of plotting contract murders.
The Marguin Brothers were charged with organizing a criminal group and plotting the murders of Nikola Damyanov, and Ivan Todorov aka The Doctor (a large-scale mafia boss specialized at international cigarettes contraband), and of General Lyuben Gotsev (who survived the attempt on his life).
The supreme magistrates, however, found the other four defendants – Biser Iliev, Veselin Toshev, Stefan Rangelov, and Ivo Karageorgiev, guilty in contracting murders - they were sentenced from 3 to 5 years behind bars, minus the time they already spent in jail.
The brothers were charged with the murders in the now-distant 2005, and were arrested during a police operation codenamed "Respect," announced by then Interior Minister, Rumen Petkov, in the aftermath of the high-profile murder of one of the wealthiest Bulgarians – banker Emil Kyulev.
In the six plus years the case has been dragging on, the Doctor was shot and killed while Damyanov died from a mass hearth attack.
On June 14, 2010, the Sofia City Court issued a non-guilty verdict on the murder charges for the Marguin brothers, who are reputed to be the biggest mafia bosses in Bulgaria.
The Court also changed Krasimir Marinov's bail to recognizance and lifted the European search warrant for Nikolay Marinov, who disappeared right after the January 2010 murder of controversial radio host, Bobi Tsankov.
The rule came in the aftermath of the prosecutor asking for a record-high verdict – 22 years behind bars for all 6 defendants.
Krasimir Marinov aka the Big Marguin pleaded not guilty while Nikolay Marinov, the Little Marguin, was tried in his absence.
Over the course of the trial, the magistrates heard numerous testimonies, including of two of the three alleged victims, but of the entire line of witnesses only one talked about some possible connection between the brothers and the murder plots.
After the verdict, the Sofia City Prosecutor, Nikolay Kokinov, and his Deputy, Roman Vassilev, announced their decision to appeal.
Bulgaria's Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, blamed, once again, the judicial system for the acquittal of the alleged crime bosses.
At the end of July 2011, the Court released its motives for the June 2010 acquittal of the two notorious brothers. They all revolved over the lack of solid evidence.
The Marguin brothers are also publicly known as being among the leaders of the SIC Corporation - allegedly one of Bulgaria's two powerful mafia structures in the 1990s.
The SIC group appeared in the mid-90s as the rival of the first large-scale mafia structure in Bulgaria after 1989, called VIS. In the late-90s and the first years after 2000, VIS and SIC were oftentimes at war, and many of the gangland killings in Bulgaria are attributed to this conflict. After 2000, the two major mafia groups in Bulgaria are believed to have been transformed into other smaller-scale entities and legal businesses.
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