Bulgarian TV journalist raped and murdered soon after release of investigation which mentions Russian oligarchs

Bulgarian TV journalist raped and murdered soon after release of investigation which mentions Russian oligarchs
Viktoria Marinova

Viktoria Marinova used to speak about corruption schemes.

Well-known TV journalist Viktoria Marinova has been murdered in Bulgaria. The 30-year-old woman’s body was found with marks of blows to the head and strangulation on October 6 in the park in the city of Ruse located in the northeastern part of the country. Marinova was partially undressed and, as it was concluded during the investigation, raped, reports Russian BBC office. As stated in the report, the crime was committed after Marinova’s TV-program was aired. In her program, she spoke about corruption schemes her colleague had discovered.

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated that the investigation has a lot of evidence and apprehending the criminal is just a matter of time. The research is checking all theories including those related to Marinova’s journalistic work.

Marinova was a host of a Detector show on Bulgaria-based television channel TVN. She covered the topics on corruption and spoke about irregularities while executing projects sponsored by the European Union. Bulgarian Bivol's reporters Dimitar Stoyanov and Attila Biro were guests on her last show. In their words, they were witnesses of wide-scale exportation and annihilation of documents from offices of a consultant company that dealt with the selection of contractors for executing the European projects.

On September 10, Bivol - as a part of a series of journalistic investigations sponsored by the EU - published a report on wide-scale and widespread corruption while allocating the EU projects’ funds. The corruption is triggered by the presence of black accounts within a network of consulting firms affiliated with some large construction companies. According to Bivol, local businessmen, politicians, and even Russian oligarchs took part in corruption schemes. In particular, the name of Lukoil's first vice-president and former member of Russia’s Federation Council Ralif Safin was mentioned in the investigation.

Stoyanov and Biro state that the core of this scheme is a consultancy company that finds contractors for the EU’s investment projects in Bulgaria. The journalists believe that this company cuts corners on materials and work. Moreover, it makes counterfeit cost sheets for the investors, pays bribes to officials from local administrative offices and siphons the unused amounts off to offshore territories.

On September 14, Bivol wrote that the day before, Stoyanov and Biro were called by the informer and told that documentation and equipment were being taken out of the headquarters of Bulgarian construction company G.P.Group JSC on a massive scale. The journalists arrived at the site and saw white-colored transport trucks leaving the gates of the building. Stoyanov and Biro followed them to find themselves near a waste ground full of several bags of papers cut with a shredding machine and burning folders related to the EU projects - including those with recent signatures and stamps.

Eventually, the journalists were detained and taken to the police station in the city of Pernik. In their words, the police officers freed them from the handcuffs an hour later only and did not let them call anyone for a long time. On the whole, Stoyanov and Biro spent about 8 hours in the police station.

Bivol’s owner Asen Yordanov stated that the murder of Marinova is a warning for other journalists. “Viktoria’s death is a brutal murder; it’s an execution! It was something like the warning!”

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called the Bulgarian authorities to find and do justice on those responsible for this horrifying crime, stated on the OSCE website.

Germany called Bulgarian law-enforcement authorities to carry out “a quick and comprehensive investigation” into Marinova’s murder, stated Deputy spokesperson of German Foreign Ministry Christofer Burger on October 8. He pointed out that the motives for committing the crime have not been determined yet, so we should refrain from speculations, reports TASS news agency.

On the rating of freedom of the media of the Reporters Without Borders international non-profit, non-governmental organization, Bulgaria was ranked 111 and the last among the EU countries.

Tags: Oligarchs
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