The illicit tobacco market is one of the key sources of revenue for organized crime in Bulgaria. During the economic turmoil in 2009-2014 the annual proceeds from this criminal activity have reached between 0.5% and 1% of the country's GDP. At the same time the budget revenues from tobacco taxation (both excise and VAT) contribute for 9 and 10% per year of the overall tax revenues in Bulgaria.
The current report examines the development of the illicit tobacco market in Bulgaria through the prism of economic risks, the political environment in the country and the region, and recent changes in the involved criminal networks and the institutional capabilities for counteraction. The publication was prepared in the framework of the study "Illegal Trade in Tobacco Products and the Balkan Route: Overcoming Institutional Gaps and Corruption" and is funded by PMI-IMPACT, a global initiative to combat illegal trade and related crimes.