Contraband cigarettes smuggled in coffins in Bulgaria

Updated 14 November 2012
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Contraband cigarettes smuggled in coffins in Bulgaria

SOFIA: Smugglers transported millions of contraband cigarettes around Bulgaria in coffins and even hired hearses to throw investigators off the scent, the country’s customs chief said on Tuesday. Head of the Bulgarian customs agency Vanyo Tanov told state BNT television the smugglers also disguised some vehicles as ambulances.
The announcement came after officials seized 25 million contraband cigarettes. Four shiny coffins and boxes labelled as containing broccoli were found along with the contraband at a depot in the capital Sofia, the agency said in a statement. The cigarettes were likely to have come from Dubai, it said, adding that it was the biggest contraband cigarette bust in Bulgaria in over eight years, with unpaid excise duties amounting to 3.5 million leva (1.8 million euros, $2.3 million).
Bulgaria has the most enthusiastic smokers in Europe after Greece, with 44 percent of its 7.4 million population lighting up regularly. Over the past two years, it has seen a steep rise in demand for contraband cigarettes following a tax hike on tobacco products in line with EU regulations.
A total 15 percent of cigarettes sold in Bulgaria are contraband, down from 30 percent in 2010 thanks to regular busts, according to the customs agency. Over 170 countries adopted on Monday in Seoul a global pact to combat the smuggling and counterfeiting of tobacco products, which accounts for 11 percent of the international tobacco market and costs governments an estimated $40 billion in lost tax revenue.


DJ Avicii ‘could not go on any longer’: family

Updated 36 min 58 sec ago
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DJ Avicii ‘could not go on any longer’: family

  • Avicii was found dead on April 20 in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf sultanate Oman, where he had been on holiday with friends
  • The musician, whose real name was Tim Bergling, announced his retirement in 2016 saying that he wanted to leave the high-flying electronic music lifestyle.

STOCKHOLM: Swedish superstar Avicii, one of the world’s most successful DJs who died a week ago aged 28, “wanted peace” and “could not go on any longer,” his family said in an open letter on Thursday.
The musician, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead on April 20 in Muscat, the capital of the Gulf sultanate Oman, where he had been on holiday with friends.
“He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness,” his family wrote in the letter, seen by AFP.
“He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace,” they added.
A spokeswoman for the artist declined to confirm whether he had committed suicide.
A police source in Oman said his death was not considered to be suspicious, adding that the circumstances would remain confidential at the request of the family.
He had made no secret of his health problems, including pancreatitis, triggered in part by excessive drinking linked to his party lifestyle.
“Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight,” his family said.
In 2016, Avicii stunned fans by announcing his retirement when he was just 26, saying that he wanted to leave the high-flying electronic music lifestyle.
“When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most -– music,” his family said.
His biggest hits included “Wake Me Up,” which went to number one across Europe in 2013 and featured the soul singer Aloe Blacc.
Avicii — who for years was one of the world’s most lucrative electronic musicians — in 2016 made number 12 on the list of top-paid DJs of Forbes magazine, which said he earned $14.5 million in the previous year.
“Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions,” his family said.
Avicii was among the first DJs to break through into the mainstream as electronic dance music grew over the past decade from nightclubs to Top 40 radio.
“An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress,” his family said.