Bulgaria - Director of the Customs Agency announced Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe in seizure of contraband cigarettes..

November 2, 2010 - Bulgaria ranks 1st in Europe and among the top 5 in the world by the seizure of contraband cigarettes, the Director of the Customs Agency, Gen. Vanyo Tanov, announced.

Tanov spoke Monday, November 1st for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, saying Customs agents have halted 16 trucks with contraband cigarettes only in the course of 20 days.

The Customs Head admitted that in the beginning of the year the fight against cigarette smuggling had been facing plenty of obstacles, but the Agency was able to build the right team to effectively counter illegal cigarette traffic to the EU.

Earlier Monday, in a TV interview, the Member of the Parliament from the conservative Order, Law and Justice (RZS) party, Emil Vasilev, accused Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, of direct ties with cigarette contraband in Bulgaria.

The RZS MP offered as evidence claims the police had failed to bust even one large cigarette smuggling shipment and Tsvetanov's known strong disagreements with Tanov.

Recent related story: BULGARIAN MUNICIPAL SERVANT BUSTED FOR CONTRABAND.. The Deputy Director of the Municipal Company "Gardens and Parks" in the second largest Bulgarian city – Plovdiv has been arrested with a very large amount of contraband cigarettes. The special police operation took place Monday night in the Plovdiv "Stolipinovo" district. Enyo Petrov, who is also a former municipal councilman, has been followed by the authorities for several months. Petrov was arrested together with his daughter and one of his workers. The police raided four addresses and seized over 18 000 cigarette boxes without excise labels. (Bulgarian Municipal Servant Busted for Contraband, Novinite.com (Sofia Morning News), 10/28/2010)

Reference: Bulgaria 1st in Europe in Contraband Cigarettes Fight, Novinite, 11/1/2010.

Bulgaria - related news briefs:
Bulgaria - smoking rate down, knowledge of dangers of tobacco use gaining..;
Bulgaria - another tobacco tax increase in the draft 2011 budget..;
Bulgaria - confusion over which public smoking ban is in force..;
Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, just added minors can't be in disco clubs after 10pm..;
Bulgaria - final vote delayed on weakened smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - weakened smoking ban, second reading..;
Bulgaria - commission tightens smoking ban a little..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac buyer may be chosen by end of year..;
Bulgaria - prime minister not happy with giving tobacco growers subsidies..;
Bulgaria - to loosen smoking ban to start June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - finance minister comments may be good news for tobacco farmers..;
Bulgaria - parliament debates proposal to water down smoking ban..;
Bulgaria - majority of all Bulgarians - 78% are against the smoking ban delay..;
Bulgaria - every increase in excise duty on cigarettes consumption goes down..;
Bulgaria - grace period over, increase in tobacco tax starts Thursday, April 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Italian authorities arrest 2-Bulgarians smuggling cigarettes..;
Bulgaria - tractor trailer loaded with contraband cigarettes seized in Ancona, Italy..;
Bulgaria - cigarette consumption down, cigarette tax collection up, seeking funds for technology to intercept contraband goods..;
Bulgaria - justifying why smoking ban won't go into effect on June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - ruling party may delay smoking ban until 2011..;
Bulgaria - Finance Minister Djankov, "Less Smoking Is Good for Economy..";
Bulgaria - govt to weaken full smoking ban to be effective June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??;
Bulgaria - sale of Bulgartabac coming - selection of a consultant..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..;
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...
Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgaria;
(smuggling, contraband, black market, illegal, illicit)