Bulgaria seeks extradition of three spies from Russia in Novichok case
Bulgarian prosecutors are requesting that Russia extradite three of its GRU officers accused in Bulgaria of poisoning Bulgaria’s best-known arms manufacturer and dealer, Emilian Gebrev, his son and production director of Emko, Valentin Tahchiev, reported 24 Chasa.
The request was made by the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office which is investigating the three spies for attempted murder with Borislav Sarafov as acting prosecutor general as he took over the role in June this year. Bulgaria has never asked for help from its Western partners in the investigation despite suspicions that the poisoning was from Novichok.
But the Bulgarian request is merely a protocol, as the Russian Constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens, regardless of the crime they are accused of abroad.
In this case, the accused are Sergey Fedotov, Georgi Gorshkov and Sergey Pavlov, employees of Russia’s foreign military intelligence body GRU. They were first exposed by Bellingcat, which was looking into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
Fedotov is also among the suspects in the poisoning of double agent Skripal with Novichok in Salisbury in 2018.
The prosecutor’s office claims that the poisoning of the three Bulgarians was carried out as the door handles of Gebrev’s car were smeared with poison.
At the same time, six other Russian intelligence officers are accused of four similar explosions in Bulgarian military warehouses over the last more than 12 years. The warehouses contained military products intended for Georgia and Ukraine. The Russian suspects are federal inspectors in Sakhalin, Magadan and Siberia.
(Krassen Nikolov | Euractiv.bg)