Organized crime in southeastern Europe often operates under cover of private security companies. Private security firms played a pivotal role in the spread of organized crime in the region, said The Sarajevo-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which recently concluded a three-month investigation into Southeast Europe's private security sector. Security companies maintained ties with organized crime, corrupt politicians and law enforcement elements throughout southeastern Europe. The region's weak legal infrastructure, lack of enforcement and widespread corruption had facilitated this development. In Bulgaria, for example, security agencies constitute the country's largest private employer with 130,000 employees or one in 11 adult males, according to OCCRP estimates. The sector employs three times as many people as the Bulgarian military and five times that of the police. In the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the security sector began growing following the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and the subsequent collapse of existing political systems.
Follow the work of OCCRP and read their reports on their web page here.