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Wednesday, August 30, 2006 

Bulgaria: Gangter's Paradise?

Thug McClean in Bugaria to launder his crime takings

Exiled UDA godfather Alan McClean was last week rubbing shoulders with Russian mafia bosses.

The loyalist hardman who brought north Belfast to the brink of a bloody feud between rival UDA factions was busy sunning himself in an upmarket Bulgarian resort while other 'exiles' were hiding out in a number of locations across Ulster.

Loyalist sources believe McClean is planning to launder cash he siphoned out of the UDA's coffers through the Balkan property market.

McClean stunned Ulster holidaymakers when he pitched up in the Golden Sands resort accompanied by a small number of the close associates of deposed UDA leaders Andre and Ihab Shoukri, including their brother Yuk.

He's been spotted flashing his cash in the pubs, clubs and casinos in the lively Black Sea resort - which has a reputation for being a favourite holiday spot with Russian gangsters - since last Monday.

Said one surprised tourist from Belfast: "McClean and his pals certainly didn't look like they were worried about much.

"They didn't care who saw them, even though it would have been clear that some people would have recognised them, and they weren't shy about showing off their cash."

Loyalist sources believe he may now try to spirit away some of the cash he fled Ulster with by investing in the Bulgarian property market.

He is believed to have trousered more than £300,000 from the north Belfast UDA's various extortion rackets and drug dealing.

Sunday Life understands that McClean already has money invested in properties in England, including one in Devon, and another near Margate.

And according to loyalist sources, he had been boasting of his plans to exploit the Bulgarian property boom - and the country's slack financial reporting laws - to hide the stash of cash he has accumulated while running the north Belfast UDA alongside the Shoukri brothers.

Bulgaria has been a favourite location for criminals to launder their dirty cash through the eastern European country's rapidly expanding property market.

We understands McClean and his gang were living it up at a four-star apartment complex yards from the beach.

Source: Sunday Life

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