Sofia Mayor and former Interior Ministry General Boiko Borisov has been implicated in serious criminal activity and maintains close ties to LUKoil and the Russian embassy. Borisov stormed onto the national political scene in mid-2006, founding a new movement that quickly became the most popular political force in the country. Borisov denied rumors that he will be a candidate for president in this fall's elections; he seemed instead to have his eye on the more powerful post of prime minister, and publicly said that he did not want to see the current coalition government serve out its term.
Accusations in years past have linked Borisov to oil-siphoning scandals, illegal deals involving LUKoil and major traffic in methamphetamines. Information tends to substantiate these allegations. Borisov is alleged to have used his former position as head of Bulgarian law enforcement to arrange cover for criminal deals, and his common-law wife, Tsvetelina Borislavova, manages a large Bulgarian bank that has been accused of laundering money for organized criminal groups, as well as for Borisov's own illegal transactions. Borisov is said to have close social and business ties to influential Mafia figures, including Mladen Mihalev (AKA "Madzho"), and is a former business partner of OC figure Roumen Nikolov (AKA "the Pasha").
Borisov has close financial and political ties to LUKoil Bulgaria Director Valentin Zlatev, a vastly influential kingmaker and behind-the-scenes power broker. Borisov's loyalty (and vulnerability) to Zlatev play a major role in his political decision making. The Mayor has engaged LUKoil in a number of public-private partnerships since taking office: LUKoil has agreed to donate asphalt for the repair of city streets, take on the upkeep of a Soviet Army monument, and finance construction of low-income housing. In a reciprocal gesture, Borisov has advocated using municipal land to develop new LUKoil stations. Though this may seem a significant quid-pro-quo, Borisov's public agreements with LUKoil are only side deals in his much deeper and broader business relationship with Zlatev, which has been reported in other channels.
Born on 13 June 1959, Borisov grew up in Bankia, an outlying district of Sofia, where he was involved with petty gangs and gained a reputation as a neighborhood tough. After finishing high school, he attended the Interior Ministry Higher Institute (Bulgaria's main academy for police and security services) and graduated in 1982 with a degree in Firefighting Equipment and Fire Safety. He was reportedly denied entry into the Military Academy and more elite faculties of the MoI academy because his grandfather had been executed in a 1950s communist show trial. After graduating, Borisov, who holds a black belt, became coach of the national karate team before joining the Sofia police force as platoon commander and later company commander.
From 1985 to 1990 he was as lecturer at the Interior Ministry Higher Institute for Police Officers’ Training and Scientific Research of the Ministry of Interior. He received a PhD for his dissertation thesis “Psycho-Physical Training of the Operational Staff”.
After the end of one-party rule, Borisov went into business. In 1990 Borissov left the system of the Ministry of Interior and a year later established the “IPON-1” company, one of the largest security companies in the country and a corporate member of the International Association of Personal Protection Agents (IAPPA). Boyko Borissov is an individual member of IAPPA. He built “IPON-1” into one of the biggest in the country at a time when "private security" was synonymous with extortion and strong-arm tactics.
In the 1990s he served as personal bodyguard to late communist dictator Todor Zhivkov (by then out of power), and was later hired to guard former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha during the ex-monarch's private visits to Bulgaria. When Saxe-Coburg returned to Bulgaria permanently and was elected Prime Minister in 2001, he appointed Borisov as Chief Secretary of the Interior Ministry -- a post that Borisov built into the most powerful law enforcement position in the country. In addition to traditional law enforcement agencies, Borisov oversaw the National Border Police, the Customs Service, and the National Security Service, which is responsible for counter-intelligence and counter-terrorism.
Borisov promoted himself shamelessly as Chief Secretary, skillfully combining influential connections with media owners and Hollywood-perfect press instincts to ensure the favorable coverage that his image is built on. Dubbed "Batman" for his brooding presence, penchant for black designer clothes and sudden appearances on crime scenes, Borisov built a PR machine that won him broad support from all age and social groups. Journalists tell us privately that Borisov pays cash for positive coverage and threatens those who report negatively on him. His tenure saw him hailed as "Sheriff of the Nation" despite at least 123 organized crime-related assassinations and no arrests of major OC leaders.
To his credit, Borisov broke new ground in cooperation with U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and orchestrated numerous arrests of drug traffickers, counterfeiters and human traffickers. He has attempted to use these ties for his own ends, often boasting of his close relationships with Western security services generally, and U.S. services in particular. His regular meetings with representatives of the Russian Embassy receive less publicity.
In private conversation, Borisov presents himself as almost violently anti-Communist -- an epithet he applies to the contemporary Bulgarian Socialist Party as well as the former regime. He often refers to his grandfather's death at the Communists' hands and rails against the leading role played by scions of "old Communist families" such as PM Stanishev, Chief Prosecutor Velchev and Parliamentary Speaker Pirinski. Borisov is street smart but often appears politically naive, as when told us he expects direct American support for his political career as a sign of our appreciation for his cooperation. His high energy level and short attention span sometimes lead him to pace like a caged tiger. He is exceptionally thin-skinned when it comes to public or private criticism.
On September 1, 2001 Borissov was appointed Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior by Decree Nr. 194/2001 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. He was promoted to the rank of ‘Colonel’ by an ordinance of the Minister of Interior. Borissov was awarded the rank of ‘Major General’ by Decree Nr. 32/2002 of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. On June 25, 2004 he was awarded the rank of ‘Lieutenant General’. On November 10, 2005 Borissov was elected Mayor of Sofia Municipality by Decision Nr. 270/06.11.2005 of the Sofia Municipal Council. Since January 10, 2010 he is the Chairman of political party GERB (PP GERB).
Boyko Borissov has received a number of awards over his career. These include: the international Foundation Prize (Prix de la Fondation) of the Crans Montana Forum for his commitment and efforts in countering corruption and organized crime in Bulgaria (2010), an award by Europol for good cooperation with the Bulgarian Security Services (2010), the bronze “European Bull” award by the Taxpayers Association Europe (TAE) (2009), Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (2006), a Baton of Honor by the Director General of the Spanish Police, a Medal for Comradeship-in-Arms by the Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service of Russia, the Medal of Honor of the French Police on behalf of the President of France and on behalf of the French Minister of Interior, Internal Security and Local Liberties, the Cross of Police Merit with a red star (Cruz al Mérito Policial) by the Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Spain for special merits to the Spanish Police, a prize for outstanding contribution to the promotion of tennis in Bulgaria by President of Tennis Europe Jacques Dupre (2012), Certificate of Appreciation from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with the US Department of Justice for outstanding contribution to countering drug-related crime, from the Ministry of Interior and the General Directorate of the Turkish National Police, from Europol Director Jurgen Storbeck, etc.
Borissov was Member of Parliament from the Parliamentary Group of PP GERB in the 42nd National Assembly and was elected for Member of Parliament in the 43rd and 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria. He served as Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria from 27 July 2009 to 21 February 2013 and from 7 November 2014 to 27 January 2017. Borissov was elected for Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria on 4 May 2017 by the 44th National Assembly.
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