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Bulgaria: Police Crack Down On Luxury Cars Owners

Sofia, 27 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Following an order from interim Interior Minister Bogomil Bonev today, squads of police swept down on the streets of Sofia seizing luxury cars. Under the order issued by Bonev, owners of cars valued in excess of 10,000 German marks must be able to demonstrate how they were able to afford such cars.

Sofia is renowned as one of the East's biggest stolen-car markets, where cars are sold at only a fraction of their real value.

Our Sofia correspondent cites reports noting a possible political motivation for the high-profile action. Reports note the previous Socialist government was closely identified with corruption and abuse, and parliamentary elections are just over three weeks away.

The Socialists yesterday complained to President Petar Stoyanov that the interim government is removing company directors with ties to the previous government. Stoyanov, in turn, criticized the interim government for not moving more rapidly to dismiss those he called corrupt managers of state-owned companies.