In the last few years, organised crime in Bulgaria has shifted its focus from the classic models of action as more of the financial damage has come as a result of white-collar crime activities and the increasingly widespread use of innovative technologies. Despite the general decrease of overall criminal proceeds, organized crime continues to pose a significant threat to the Bulgarian economy. In addition, a large part of the criminal networks in Bulgaria control legal businesses, which has facilitated the laundering of criminal activity and has posed new challenges to combating organised crime.
In order to summarise the results of the Bulgarian Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2020, the Center for the Study of Democracy invited representatives of the relevant institutions: the Ministry of Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office and the National Revenue Agency, as well as media, to an online event where highlights of the study were discussed. The Assessment has been carried out for a third consecutive year and assesses the current state, volume and structures of criminal markets in Bulgaria, as well as trends of their development.
Long-investigated criminal markets such as human trafficking and sex services, illicit trade in tobacco products, drug trafficking and distribution, organized VAT fraud have marked no significant changes in their volume in the past year. The damages incurred as a result of electronic payment fraud and cybercrime increased slightly compared to the previous period. For the first time in 2019, the Assessment widened its scope to include new criminal markets which have become particularly important in the Bulgarian context: illegal logging, illegal trade in medicines and EU funds fraud.