Sofia, Sep 13 (AFP) Bulgarian authorities broke up an organised criminal group that allegedly recruited poor people to sell their kidneys for transplants, prosecutors announced Friday. Three men and a woman were charged on Friday with recruiting kidney donors and connecting them to transplant recipients, specialised prosecution chief Dimitar Petrov told journalists.
The transplants were done in a hospital in neighbouring Turkey with forged papers indicating that the kidney donor and recipient were relatives, he added. Prosecutors said at least five people had received transplants under the criminal scheme since February 2019, with two more patients and three potential donors still waiting to undergo surgery.
The patients paid between 50,000 and 100,000 euros ($55,400-110,900) for the transplant, prosecutor Siyka Mileva added. The donors -- mostly unemployed people from poor communities who had large debts -- received between 5,000 and 7,000 euros after the surgery.
Only 22 kidney transplants have been performed in Bulgaria so far this year, while 1,028 people are registered on the kidney transplant waiting lists, data by the Bulgarian health ministry shows. (AFP) RS RS
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