Ross Kemp on Gangs TV - Misha Glenny -
In 2007 Bulgaria joined the European Union. 18 months later the EU had to take drastic action against this new member state. Romany gangs from Bulgaria and its neighbouring countries are accused of making millions of pounds from pick-pocketing and prostitution on the streets of the UK. I meet gangs who see Britain as a soft target. Ross Kemp on Gangs s4e2: Bulgaria, Sky 2008
They don’t seem particularly upset at being apprehended. ibid.
On average they arrest around ten pick-pockets a week on the Tube. ibid.
There are gypsy gangs operating within the UK. ibid.
I’m in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. We’ve come here to attempt to uncover the truth about one of the most despised ethnic groups in Europe. ibid.
I’m saddened by the way these young women have to rule their lives. ibid.
I’m struck by the levels of poverty. ibid.
One in six is a gypsy. ibid.
Blood and Honour are an underground organisation. ibid. Kemp’s commentary
These people are highly organised. ibid.
The truth is always more complicated. ibid.
They admit to prostitution and to pick-pocketing. ibid.
The Bulgaria State Security Service was held in special regard by its Soviet masters for its efficacy and reliability. Usually invisible, it never disappointed on those occasions when it did catch the public eye – the DS masterminded the death of the Bulgaria dissident Georgi Markov, when working for the BBC in London, was struck down by a poison-tipped umbrella as he strode across Waterloo Bridge in 1978.
The business of eliminating enemies of the state Le Carré-style was mere icing on the cake. The most important and lucrative trade of the Bulgarian secret service was smuggling – in drugs, in arms and in high tech. Misha Glenny, McMafia
The [Robert] Maxwell connection demonstrated how quickly some predatory Western businessmen linked up with proto-oligarchs from Eastern Europe to internationalise the asset-stripping of the new democracies. Maxwell was in the vanguard of a criminal industry that would run out of control in the 1990s – money laundering. Together with Prime Minister Lukanov, Maxwell arranged the transfer of $2 billion from Bulgaria into Western tax havens – subsequent Bulgarian governments were unable to trace what happened to this cash, although we do know that it did not end up in the Daily Mirror’s pension fund from which Maxwell was also stealing hundreds of millions of pounds at the same time. ibid.