WikiLeaks exposes Bulgarian football league’s mafia links | Pakistan Today

WikiLeaks exposes Bulgarian football league’s mafia links

SOFIA – Some of Bulgaria’s most popular football clubs have ties with mafia bosses, who use them to launder money, according to a US diplomatic document revealed by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks. “Bulgarian soccer clubs are widely believed to be directly or indirectly controlled by organised crime figures who use their teams as a way to legitimise themselves, launder money, or make a fast buck,” a January 2010 cable from the US embassy in Sofia to Washington noted.
Details of the cable, which handed Bulgarian football “a red card for corruption”, were published Monday on the website of the Spanish daily El Pais.
“Nearly all of the teams are owned or have been connected to organised crime figures,” the cable’s author, current US deputy chief of mission to Sofia Susan Sutton, wrote.
A “sampling of the most well-known connections” compiled by Sutton included some of Bulgaria’s most popular first league clubs, such as Levski Sofia, CSKA Sofia, Litex Lovech, Slavia Sofia, Cherno more Varna, Lokomotiv Sofia and Lokomotiv Plovdiv. An alleged arms dealer, a proxy to a notorious Russian businessman and three assassinated crime bosses were among the team owners listed in the cable.

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