THE BULGARIAN crime groups are still insignificant in an international aspect but contraband and drug traffic, money and document counterfeiting affect the development of this country and discredit Bulgaria as a reliable partner, interior minister Georgi Petkanov told a two-day international conference on security in Southeast Europe.
According to the interior minister, the leaders of the organised crime groups in Bulgaria are mainly Bulgarian citizens. The formation of crime in Bulgaria began in the early 1990s with the help of former sportsmen and criminals, the minister recalled. The Bulgarian crime groups deal mainly with contraband, drug and people traffic, money counterfeiting.
People planted in the state administration, the judicial system, the interior ministry services and the customs divulge official secrets, Petkanov admitted. According to him corruption is most frequent in the customs, the judiciary, education and the interior ministry. Petkanov however assured the participants in the forum that the ministry continued to work towards restraining the financial resources of the crime groups.
Organised crime hampers investment in the region. It has succeeded in overcoming the state structures of the countries in the region and has played an adverse role in the privatisation process, thus contributing to the halting of reforms in some countries, Stability Pact coordinator Erhard Busek said.

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