In 2020, the Bulgarian iGaming market witnessed one of the biggest criminal scandals in a long time. Three official owners of the casino brand – efbet, the Naydenovs, made a statement about a blackmail case. Since then, the situation has constantly been escalating, and GBC Time decided to share with you the chronology of the criminal war in the Balkans iGaming.
Photo sources:vasilbojkov.co.uk, novini.bg
Who is Vasil Bozhkov?
Vasil Bozhkov is a well-known businessman who hasn’t always followed the legislation measures and restrictions. In a matter of his business growth, his persona had become popular as one of the biggest criminals in the Balkans.
A significant part of the financial income Bozhkov also had from the iGaming business. The lottery website 7777.bg owned by Vasil, it resembled a slot gaming platform in some ways. But still, the iGaming brand was paying taxes prices, which are noticeably lower than for a casino website in Bulgaria.
Bozhkov was also observed in the licensing scheme connected with the official authority in Bulgaria. Simply put, the criminal businessman was managing all the licenses being issued. Moreover, Vasil also influenced the Commission Head, leading to the unofficial ban of license issues for each and every foreign operator that could be a potential competitor for Bozhkov and his business.
Bozhkov vs. Naydenovs
The efbet brand is the casino and sportsbook platform that’s been working in Bulgaria since 2006. The business was growing and offering both online and offline products for the customers. However, in 2020, the business faced some challenges that weren’t so easy to face.
The efbet is a family business that the Naydenov brothers own. Back in 2020, the father and his sons reported that one of the biggest Bulgarian crime lords, Bozhkov, launched active extorting actions against the family, demanding the company’s share. According to the Naydenov family, the main argument that Bozhkov had for convincing was life-threatening.
Why Bozhkov was claiming efbet’s share?
Vasil Bozhkov was sure that brands like efbet existed and developed due to his illegal actions, such as a license-issue scheme. In other words, cutting off the foreign competitors affected the financial increase for all brands operating in the Bulgarian market.
However, the Naydenovs family stated they didn’t ask for such help and were unaware of this scheme.
Eventually, the Bulgarian authority decided to arrest the criminal iGaming owner, but Vasil left the country for Dubai.
The death of Petrov and US Sanctions
This case was so scandalous that the US government also reacted to the crimes. The efbet owners and Bozhkov were put on the sanction list for money laundering based on the Bulgarian version of the Magnitsky Law. But still, Vasil rejected all the allegations and implied that the real criminals were the Navedovs family.
Later, in August 2023, another criminal leader and Bozhkov’s competitor, Aleksei Petrov, was killed, but not on the first attempt. Earlier, in 2015, the first try to eliminate Petrov was reported, which was, by the way, one of Vasil’s competitors. Obviously, the first suspect in the list was a 7777.bg owner.
Bozhkov’s Big Homecoming
On August 25, the private jet of the wanted criminal landed in Bulgaria. But still, there are many controversies about his real reason for coming back home. Some think that this was an extradition form invented by Dubai, another rumor says that Bozhkov decided to clear his legal name.
In Sofia, Bulgaria, Vasil Bozhkov was arrested.
At the moment, there have been no official statements about the future fate of the criminal boss. But history shows that history can turn in a direction unexpected for everyone at any moment.
GBC Time will keep you posted about further developments in the criminal world in Bulgaria and how it will affect the iGaming market in the country.
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