Bulgarian anti-mafia chief charged with corruption

The head of Bulgaria's anti-mafia bureau was charged with corruption on Friday after documents surfaced indicating he protected drug traffickers in exchange for thousands of euros, prosecutors said.

Between 1999 and 2002, before he became director of the GDBOP anti-mafia bureau in 2009, Stanimir Florov apparently had irregular dealings with drug traffickers and traffickers of other illegal goods, the Sofia prosecutor's office said, citing documents it had received from an anonymous source.

The information, which was emailed to the prosecutors' office and found to be authentic, included "receipts for particularly large bribes, making this a particularly serious case," they said.

According to these papers, Florov -- already a GDBOP agent at the time -- agreed to warn drug traffickers ahead of police operations, receiving 20,000 Deutsche Marks (10,000 euros, $13,000) -- the preferred currency at the time -- for each warning.

He also agreed to verify if Interpol was tracking cars that had been stolen in the visa-free Schengen zone.

The emailed information contained copies of documents from the president's security service and prosecutors said they were investigating a classified information leak.

The charges against Florov are a new blow against former Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, after a probe found Monday that his ministry had ordered illegal wiretaps on top politicians for years.

Florov was a close collaborator of Tsvetanov, who is now handling the former ruling party GERB's campaign ahead of snap elections on May 12.

The GERB government, led by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, stepped down in February under pressure from the street but is seeking a return to power next month.

Opinion polls have consistently put it in the lead, with the Socialists in second place.