ACF urges the MoI to examine a new tip-off containing allegations that the ex-Minister of Interior, Mladen Marinov, is connected to the owners of Delta Guard

The Anti-Corruption Fund (ACF) appealed to the Minister of Interior to examine newly received information about an existing connection between the ex-Minister of Interior Mladen Marinov, and the owners of the private security company Delta Guard EOOD, Dimitar “Karate” Spasov and Marin Milchev Rusev. The testimonies of witnesses interviewed in ACF’s 2020 investigation “The Eight Dwarfs” also pointed to such a connection.

The tip-off received by ACF contains a report prepared by a police officer with the Nesebar Regional Police Station in 2005. The source of the tip-off is anonymous, but the names and events described therein point to someone within the MoI system, which prompts a mandatory examination by the authorities.

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The police report appended to the tip-off reveals information about three vehicles that were stopped on the night of 26 November 2005. The last of the three vehicles, a Volkswagen Touareg owned by the Sofia-based company Delta – S OOD, was driven by Dimitar Spasov Spasov from Sofia. Two of the passengers in the car produced police IDs showing they were officers of the Security, Prevention and Protection of Public Order Directorate (SPPPO) in Sofia. They were Mladen Naydenov Marinov and Marin Milchev Rusev, both from Sofia. The other passengers in the car were Evgeni Tsvetanov Dimitrov and Nikolay Ivanov Minchev, also from Sofia. According to the sender of the tip-off, some of the passengers travelling in the three stopped cars had criminal records. This is an additional ground for performing a thorough examination of the tip-off.

The tip-off received by ACF confirms the statements made by witnesses in “The Eight Dwarfs” about an existing connection between the ex-Minister of Interior Mladen Marinov and the owners of the private security company Delta Guard. The driver of the Volkswagen Touareg mentioned in the police report — Dimitar Spasov Spasov, better known as “Karate Mitko” — was the owner of Delta Guard until 29 October 2021 and is also featured in the movie clips published by ACF. Moreover, one of the persons who identified themselves as police officers with the SPPPO Directorate in Sofia is Marin Milchev Rusev, who later became sole owner of Delta – S EOOD and Delta Guard EOOD. The other police officer with SPPPO Directorate in Sofia is Mladen Naydenov Marinov, who served as Minister of Interior between 20 September 2018 and 24 July 2020.

“The Eight Dwarfs” investigation also revealed information that the brother of the ex-Minister of Interior Mladen Marinov has worked as a driver and security guard for the ex-Director of the Sofia Investigation Service, Petyo “The Euro” Petrov, whose informal office at “The Eight Dwarfs” restaurant is guarded by Delta Guard EOOD.

After all the parts of “The Eight Dwarfs” investigation had been published, ACF made several submissions to the Ministry of interior, requesting a comprehensive investigation into the business activities of Delta Guard EOOD and the potential ties of former and current MoI officials with the company.

The submissions made in the period July – September 2020, when the office of Minister of Interior was held by Mladen Marinov and subsequently Hristo Terziyski, were virtually inconsequential. Minister Terziyski claimed that the conducted inspections had not identified any violations.

However, by letter dated 1 September 2021, the caretaker Minister of Interior informed ACF that the performed inspections on MoI officials for unlawful behavior had not been impartial. He also revealed that there had indeed been constant presence of police vehicles in front of “The Eight Dwarfs” restaurant in the period 1 January 2018 – 31 March 2020. The letter from the Minister further states that the violations committed by the security company Delta Guard OOD within the territorial jurisdiction of the Dupnitsa Regional Police Station had not been duly sanctioned.

“We think that the newly received information supports the justified allegations of irregular connections between senior MoI officials and the owners of the security company Delta Guard EOOD.

We urge the authorities to conduct a new internal investigation into the actions of all MoI officials concerned and call for maximum transparency on the matter, given the high public interest in the facts disclosed in “The Eight Dwarfs” series,” says Boyko Stankushev, Director of the Anti-Corruption Fund.