The Bulgarin Crime Syndicate is a a Russian mafia crime syndicate featured in Grand Theft Auto IV and The Ballad of Gay Tony. It is led by Ray Bulgarin, a high profile figure in global organized crime, and affiliated with Rascalov Mafiya.
Bulgarin's gang seems to be merged with Rascalov's gang, since the two are old friends and loyal partners. Bulgarin also has large number of his own goons, who can be seen during such missions as In The Crosshairs and Party's Over. They cannot be encountered on the streets, because they are more of a personal squad of bodyguards and hitmen and aren't involved in street criminal activity, and the gang itself is based in the Adriatic and not Liberty City. They are dressed mostly in black leather bomber jackets and coats. One of the possible models for them bears resemblance to protagonist of GTA III, Claude.
Human trafficking serves as the main source of income for the gang. Ray Bulgarin was charged for it in 1989 in Liberty City and seems to gain control over such operations in Europe. The gang's income is large enough for Ray to be a millionaire and easily purchase paintings that cost $2,000,000. Despite having a lot of well-armed hitmen, Mr. Bulgarin likes to invest money in potential and hire contract killers, such as Luis Fernando Lopez.
Ray Bulgarin has probably reached a very high rank in the international crime scene, because Niko Bellic refers to him as a man, who has too many connections in Europe, and his behaviour in Liberty City appears to be confident and impudent. Ray is a powerful enough figure to make such influential gang leaders as Dimitri Rascalov and Giovanni Ancelotti betray their employees in order to keep on good terms with him.
The gang was formed by Ray Bulgarin and their first presence in Liberty City is dated by 1989, when Ray was deported from the country for receiving a shipment of Albanian sex workers at the Liberty City docks. Human trafficking seems to be major interest for the gang, since Bulgarin continued his crimes in Europe for almost twenty years, operating primarily in the Adriatic, smuggling people via ships.
One of his employees was Niko Bellic, a Bosnian War veteran, who smuggled people into Italy from Eastern Europe. During one run the ship sank, and Niko was forced to abandon it and its cargo, swimming for his life. Bulgarin blamed him for this loss, and sought to hunt him down, but Niko managed to escape by joining the merchant navy.
Another member of the gang was Timur, who became Bulgarin's main hitman and right-hand man by 2008, being involved in many of his operations. His rank was high enough to personally know Marki Ashvilli, who was a Russian crime authority and later immigrated to the United States of America.
Events of GTA IV and TBoGT
By 2008 Bulgarin returned to Liberty City with Timur and a squad of his hitmen. The reason for his returning is unknown, since he was still banned in America and was forced to live in his sister's house, despite being able to afford a better place. It seems that his primary purpose was to track down the diamonds, which were stolen from him, but he has other interests as well, like purchasing the Liberty City Rampage hockey team and Maisonette 9 night club.
His old friend, Dimitri Rascalov, took over the major Russian crime syndicate by betrayal, and the two formed a powerful alliance in Liberty City. Niko Bellic, who worked as a hired gun for Dimitri, was offered to Bulgarin as an sign of friendship. Dimitri and Ray set up an ambush for Niko in an old warehouse, but Niko managed to escape with the help of Jamaican gangster Little Jacob, killing a lot of Russian mobsters in the process. Dimitri immediately sends two of his hitmen to burn down Niko's apartment and his cousin's car depot, in order to burn them out of Broker and find them for revenge.
Despite having a lot of goons in Liberty City, Ray Bulgarin prefers to hire independent workers and invest in their potential, guided by his intuition. He meets Luis Fernando Lopez in Maisonette 9 and later offers him a job in his organization, which includes being in charge of his illegal operations across the city. Luis, who is already a partner of Tony Prince, has to decline, but Ray keeps providing him with jobs. The first of them is to get rid of the corrupt NOOSE team, which investigates Bulgarin on orders of Marki Ashvilli, ex-Russian crime authority and present owner of Liberty City Rampage. Ray and Timur are personally involved in the mission and with the help from Luis eliminate the NOOSE team in the underground parking lot.
Later Ray orders Luis to kill Marki Ashvilli himself, because even after losing his corrupt NOOSE team he refuses to sell Liberty City Rampage to Bulgarin. Luis parachutes on the roof of MeTV building and storms the Ashvilli's offices, killing a lot of Russian goons in the process. Timur, who accompanies Luis on the mission, says that he can't do it by himself because Ashvilli's men can kill his family back in the old country. Timur still asks to Luis to say "hello" to Ashvilli from him, hinting that he knows him personally and the Bulgarin Crime Syndicate probably had some affiliations with Ashvilli in Russia. After wiping out Ashvilli's bodyguards, Luis shot Marki Ashvilli, who falls out of the window. After more of his guards arrive, Luis once again parachutes out of the offices to be picked up by Timur on a flatbed truck.
One of Ancelotti's made men, Rocco Pelosi, later attempts to buy Bulgarin's diamonds, which were smuggled into the city by The Cook. He orders Tony Prince and Luis Lopez to buy them for two million dollars, but the deal is ambushed by The Lost MC. Bulgarin's diamonds fall into the possession of Ray Boccino, who hired the bikers in the first place. Bulgarin somehow learns about the deal and kills The Cook by beheading him. Luis, not knowing about Bulgarin's interest in the diamonds, steals them from the deal between Jewish Mob and Boccino's men.
Bulgarin, who already knows about Luis being involved, later orders him to go on a rooftop in Little Italy to cover Timur, but really plans an assassination on him. He puts the severed head of The Cook, packed in the box from the cake he smuggled the diamonds in, on the rooftop and when Luis discovers it, orders his snipers to shoot. After Luis defeats four of Bulgarin's snipers, more hitmen come to the scene from the ground, other rooftops, by cars and even helicopter. Luis escapes the ambush.
Bulgarin, who wants his diamonds back badly, doesn't stop. He sets another ambush, when Luis Lopez and Tony Prince arrive with the diamonds in the exchange for Gracie Ancelotti, who was kidnapped by Niko Bellic and Packie McReary. Luis and Tony manages to escape with Gracie, when Bulgarin appears on the scene to confront Niko and blamed him for always being near the things, that are stolen from him. He flees and his goons attack Niko and Packie. During the shootout they kill all Bulgarin's men, but the diamonds are lost for good, after they fall in the garbage truck.
Bulgarin also intimidates Giovanni Ancelotti for being involved into the diamonds deal, who puts the blame solely on Rocco Pelosi. Being afraid of Bulgarin's syndicate, Rocco blames Tony Prince and orders Luis to kill him. Luis, being loyal to his boss and partner, kills Uncle Vince instead and spares Rocco only because he is a made man in the Ancelotti Family. Rocco, who was aware of Bulgarin's wish to kill everybody involved with the diamonds, escapes from Maisonette 9 and leaves the city. Luis and Tony alone fight off the waves of Russian hitmen send by Bulgarin.
At the same time Dimitri Rascalov and his partner James Pegorino, along with their men, are killed by Niko Bellic. Ray Bulgarin claims their heroin for himself and attempts to flee the country, probably because of his failure in almost every business interest he had. The diamonds are lost for him, Liberty City Rampage can't be sold after their owner was killed, and control over the city cannot be taken after significant losses of people and the death of Dimitri. Bulgarin orders Timur to hide the heroin in Funland while he is leaving the country in his jet.
Tony Prince somehow learns about Bulgarin's plans and reveals them to Luis. In order to prevent possible problems with the Russian Mafia in future, Luis decides to wipe out the rest of Bulgarin's men, destroy the heroin and assassinate Bulgarin himself. He storms Funland, kills Timur and eliminates Bulgarin's gang and the crates containing the heroin. Then, supported by Yusuf Amir and his golden Buzzard, Luis breaks through waves of Bulgarin's hitmen and catches his plane at Francis International Airport. Before the airplane takes off, Luis manages to jump on board. Once airborne, Ray Bulgarin comes out to him with a grenade in his hand, saying that if Luis kills him, they will die together in the plane crash. Luis takes his chances, kills Bulgarin and parachutes out of the plane.
Members and associates
- Dimitri Rascalov - Boss of the Rascalov crime family, Partner and ally.
- Giovanni Ancelotti - Don of the Ancelotti crime family and Possible ally.
- Niko Bellic - Human trafficker (Formerly)
- Luis Fernando Lopez - Hitman (Formerly)
- GTA IV
- Boulevard Baby
- Going Deep
- Dropping In...
- In the Crosshairs
- Ladies Half Price
- Party's Over
- Departure Time (Wiped Out)