Published by Wikileaks & Bivol.bg
 date: 10/26/2005 15:14 refid: 05SOFIA1847 origin: Embassy Sofia classification: UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY destination:  header: This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.    UNCLAS SOFIA 001847    SIPDIS    SENSITIVE    E.O. 12958: N/A  TAGS: PREL, KCRM, ASEC, BU  SUBJECT: TOP BULGARIAN MONEY LAUNDERER SHOT DEAD IN SOFIA    1.  (SBU) SUMMARY: Controversial banker Emil Kyulev, owner  of Bulgaria's biggest financial group DZI, was shot dead in  in central Sofia October 26.  The killing of Kyulev is the  latest in a series of apparent organized crime-related  assassinations in recent months.  It comes only a day after  the European Union released its monitoring report sharply  criticizing Bulgaria for its failure to fight organized  crime. Kyulev was a former partner of Russian-born Michael  Chorny, who was banned from Bulgaria as a threat to national  security.  Reportedly the third richest person in Bulgaria,  Kyulev was also known for his high-profile political  connections, including his role as a former advisor to  President Georgi Purvanov and a major campaign contributor  to former Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg. END SUMMARY    2. (U) Kyulev was shot dead at about 9:15 a.m. while in his  car en route to downtown Sofia.   Early reports claim the  assailant, who was hidden in the nearby bushes, fired at  least ten bullets.  Kyulev's driver, who was also shot  several times, was rushed to the emergency hospital.    3. (SBU) Kyulev, 48, graduated from the Police Academy and  started his career at the Ministry of Interior.  In 1988, he  used his security-service connections and access to capital  to set up one of Bulgaria's first private consultancy  companies, which offered administrative and legal services  in the real estate market.  A year later he parlayed these  contacts into the establishment of Tourist Bank, later  renamed Touristsport Bank and then Commercial and Savings  Bank.  In 1994 Kyulev left the bank, which subsequently went  bankrupt, and set up Roseximbank jointly with the  "controversial Russian businessman" Michael Chorny.  Roseximbank received a sweetheart deal that allowed it to  handle all payments of the Bulgarian Tax Directorate and the  Customs Agency, as well as the operations of the biggest tax-  payers in the country.  In 2002, Kyulev bought the state-  owned DZI, Bulgaria's biggest insurance company, and changed  Roseximbank's name to DZI Bank, thus forming the country's  largest financial group.  DZI currently controls more than  350 companies in various industries.  In the process, Kyulev  managed to change his image in the eyes of most Bulgarians  from that of an inside trader and suspected money-launderer  to that of a legitimate businessman.    4. (SBU) Kyulev was a founder of Vazrajdane Business Club  along with Multigroup boss Iliya Pavlov (shot dead in 2003)  and Vasil "The Skull" Bozhkov.  In an effort to distance  himself from the Club's notorious members, Kyulev left the  organization in 2002. He recently hired a U.S. lobbyist to  help him further clean up his image.  He also set up a  foundation to combat human trafficking which he was  suspected of using to launder money as well as to gain  credibility and legitimacy.    5. (SBU) Reportedly one of Bulgaria's richest businessmen,  with an estimated wealth of around $500 million, Kyulev is  also known for his political connections.  He was among the  major sponsors of Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha's party for the  2001 elections, which restored the ex-king to power as Prime  Minister. According to unconfirmed reports, in 2005 Kyulev  directed his financial assistance towards the Socialist  Party, which won the biggest number of seats in parliament  in the June general vote.  Kyulev was also economic advisor  to President Georgi Purvanov and is said to have funded his  November 2001 presidential campaign.  Purvanov cancelled his  scheduled trip to the northeastern Bulgaria and returned to  Sofia following the news of Kyulev's death.    6. (SBU) COMMENT: The latest high-profile attack follows  closely a number of other assassinations in recent months,  including the October 10 killing of a high-ranking Customs  official Shinka Manova.  At least 23 people have been killed  in organized crime related assaults since the beginning of  the year.  However, unlike the other businessmen and  organized crime figures who have fallen victim to  gangland-style shootings, Kyulev's reputation associated him  primarily with white-collar crime.  Kyulev's assassination  is a significant event on par with Iliya Pavlov's killing in  March 2003.  The timing of the killing further underscores  Bulgaria's inaction against organized crime, and is being  viewed by many today as a national embarrassment.  END  COMMENT    BEYRLE 

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