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Europe

Bulgarian journalist shot dead in Sofia

A prominent Bulgarian radio presenter and author, Bobi Tsankov, was shot dead in the capital Sofia on Tuesday. His murder is believed to be connected with his investigations into organized crime in the country.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Tsankov was killed in Sofia, the Bulgarian capital

Bulgarian Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said the journalist was shot dead in central Sofia in broad daylight. Two other men were also wounded and rushed to hospital.

It's the first such killing since a new center-right government took office in July.

Tsankov, 30, was a radio presenter and author of several books on organized crime in Bulgaria.

He had previously been injured in 2006 by a bomb attack outside of his home, and received death threats last November shortly before one of his books was published.

Pressure to crack down on crime

The Bulgarian government of Prime Minister Boiko Borisov is under pressure both at home and from the European Union to deliver on its pledge to crack down on organized crime and corrupt officials.

There have been more than 150 gangland-style killings since 2001.

However, few of the killings have resulted in trials, and even fewer suspects have been convicted. Since the fall of communism, only one crime boss has been sent to jail in Bulgaria.

Tsankov's murder comes after the death of another crime author. Gerogi Stoev had been planning to release a book with detailed descriptions of Bulgarian organized crime activities, when he was shot and killed in April 2008.

The European Union has repeatedly criticized Bulgaria, which has been an EU member since 2007, for its corrupt and inefficient justice system.

The bloc cut millions of euros in aid in 2008, and may impose more sanctions if no signs of improvement are seen.

mk/dpa/Reuters
Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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