Infamous Bulgarian Security Expert and Politician Alexei Petrov was Shot Dead in Sofia (UPDATED)

Society » INCIDENTS | August 16, 2023, Wednesday // 14:16
Bulgaria: Infamous Bulgarian Security Expert and Politician Alexei Petrov was Shot Dead in Sofia (UPDATED) Alexei Petrov @Wikimedia Commons

Former politician and national security expert Alexei Petrov was killed, sources from the prosecutor's office told the media. According to initial information, the murder took place in the capital's "Dragalevtsi" district.

  • Initially, authorities reported a shooting that took place in Sofia’s “Dragalevtsi” district. The Ministry of Interior said that a dead man and an injured woman were found, but did not release names. At the time, their identities were still investigated.
    At 1:20 p.m., the Ministry of the Interior announced that forensic experts were clarifying the facts and circumstances surrounding the crime. The signal was given around 12:20 p.m. The injured woman was transported to a hospital. In this case, pre-trial proceedings have been initiated, within which an inspection will be carried out and the circumstances surrounding the crime will be clarified.

  • Later, BNR reported that the dead man was Alexei Petrov. He was shot with a rifle near the lift station in “Dragalevtsi”. There is an police increased presence at the site, and an inspection is being carried out.
    BNT reported that the shooting took place near the “Vodenitsa” restaurant.

  • The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office has initiated pre-trial proceedings after the shooting in, Nova TV reported. Sofia city prosecutor Iliana Kirilova, together with two of her deputies, Hristo Krastev and Ivaylo Iliev, are at the scene of the shooting.
    The woman who was injured in the shooting of Alexei Petrov has been admitted to "Pirogov" hospital, and at the moment there is no official information from the hospital about her condition, Nova TV reported. According to information from there, the murder took place in the "Bai Krastyu" area, and the emergency service was called at 12:40 p.m. Two emergency teams arrived at the scene and took the woman in a serious condition to "Pirogov".

  • According to the latest information from bTV, Petrov was on a hike in Vitosha without his bodyguard, as he walked in this area of the mountain regularly and only in such cases was he without his personal bodyguard.
    The TV station claims that the woman who was with him is not his wife.

  • According to information from "Nova TV", police patrols were sent to the exits of Sofia in an attempt to arrest the alleged perpetrator. The police presence in the city has been increased.
    Former chief prosecutor and director of the National Investigative Service Boyko Naydenov, who lives near the scene of the shooting, told reporters that this was excessive and that police forces should be concentrated around the scene.

  • The director of "Pirogov" hospital, Valentin Dimitrov, denied to "Dnevnik" that the woman who was with Alexei Petrov during the shooting and was also shot, died. According to him, multiple teams of the medical facility are trying to save her life, but at the moment it is not possible to give a forecast about the probability of her survival. Dimitrov announced that the hospital has no information about her identity and that she is registered as an unknown patient in the "Pirogov" register.
    The press service of "Pirogov" reported that she is 48 years old. "She will be taken to the operating room, where revision activities will be carried out on her injury," the information to the media reads.
    Doctors from "Pirogov" unofficially told "Dnevnik" that the medical facility has information that the shot woman died in the hospital's shock room. Earlier "Nova TV" reported this, but a little later it referred to a conversation with the director of "Pirogov", who denied that the woman had died.
    bTV reported that she was shot in the chest, and before she lost consciousness, she managed to give a description of the shooter - "a man in hunting clothes". Her identity has not been specified, but the information is that she submitted the signal to 112.

  • In front of the media near the scene of the shooting, the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Petar Todorov, stated that Petrov was with three security guards while he was walking on a regular route with an acquaintance of his. An inspection is currently being conducted and measures are being taken to gather evidence. An operational headquarters was formed, which includes many structures of the Ministry of the Interior.
    The head of the Sofia Police, Lyubomir Nikolov, said that the shooting took place in a wooded area near a path. Witnesses are being identified and will be questioned.
    The city prosecutor of Sofia, Iliana Kirilova, stated that, according to medical data, the injured woman is undergoing surgery, and as soon as there is an opportunity, she will be questioned. The Sofia City Prosecutor's Office will lead the pre-trial proceedings.

  • The woman who was with Alexei Petrov when he was killed was shot in the arm, the bullet caused a wound in the chest area. This was announced by the director of "Pirogov" Valentin Dimitrov at a press briefing. He did not say whether the bullet had passed through the woman's body or whether it had been removed from it.
    "The condition was assessed in the shock room, it is not very good, she is in the operating room," said Dimitrov. He announced that she has two surgeries coming up. He did not specify the exact time of her admission to "Pirogov". "In the beginning, she was in contact. Then she was put into a medically induced coma, intubated, under anesthesia," said the director of the hospital.
    Valentin Dimitrov claims that the woman's identity is still unknown, and her age of 48, previously reported by "Pirogov", is approximate. "More or less, I also look 55-57 years old. She is about 47-48 years old," said the director.

  • Alexei Petrov was with three bodyguards at the time of his murder and was following his usual route. This was stated at a briefing by the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Petar Todorov.
    "We are studying the route of movement and are conducting the necessary operational and search measures. At the moment, an inspection is being conducted by all the necessary specialists to answer the questions of how many shots were fired, what the weapon was, etc".
    An operational headquarters has been formed in this case.
    Sofia city prosecutor Iliana Kirilova explained that an inspection of the accident scene and the body is underway.
    "Witnesses, the injured person's security are being questioned. The woman who accompanied him is currently in Pirogov. According to the doctors, an operation is about to take place, and possibly as soon as we have an opportunity and she is well, she will be questioned."
    The director of the Sofia Police explained that the shooting took place by the side of a path, along a route that Aleksei Petrov used regularly.

Reactions after the murder of Alexei Petrov you can read here.

Who is Alexei Petrov

Before 1989, Alexei Petrov worked for the Sixth Department of the Communist State Security, “Terror” Division, to which the berets belong.

At the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century, he left the system of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He established a joint form with Boyko Borissov, who later became chief secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, mayor of Sofia, prime minister and leader of the GERB party. The two were teammates on the karate team. Earlier this year, Borissov called Petrov "the best beret he knows" in a TV interview.

Alexei Petrov was a partner in several security and insurance companies from that period. Until 2000, he participated in the management of insurance companies, including the company "Levski Spartak", which later became "Lev Ins".

After 2000, the name of Alexei Petrov began to be associated with the services again. In 2008, it became known that he was the organizer of a meeting between the then Interior Minister Rumen Petkov and two people known as the “Galevi” brothers - Plamen Galev and Angel Hristov, who were accused of racketeering. A scandal broke out around the meeting, and during a hearing in parliament, Petkov said that by covering the meeting, "the identity of an undercover officer was revealed". Because of the scandal, Rumen Petkov resigned. Alexei Petrov was officially appointed as an advisor to the State Agency for National Security (SANS).

In 2009, a scandal broke out over a secret report of SANS, presented by the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that the folder with the report was returned by a "loyal citizen" - Alexei Petrov. A year later, Petrov was arrested in the infamous "Octopus" operation of the Ministry of the Interior, led personally by the then minister and Borissov's right-hand man Tsvetan Tsvetanov. The case dragged on for years and ended in acquittals.

In 2011, Alexei Petrov ran for president, nominated by an initiative committee, and received just under 1% of the vote in the first round. Over the years, media publications have connected him with former chief prosecutor Nikola Filchev. The two were neighbors on Sofia's "Ararat" street, closed to public access.

In recent years, Alexei Petrov has been officially engaged in scientific activity. He was an associate professor and teacher at Plovdiv University and the University of National and World Economy. In recent months, he visibly stepped up his media appearances, in which he was pushing for the formation of a regular government.

For many years, Alexei Petrov was the executive director of the Union for Economic Initiative. His name was also associated with a legislative problem from the last parliament, when GERB, DPS, "Vazrazhdane", BSP and "Bulgarian Rise actively opposed the changes introduced by the Cabinet to the Insurance Code related to the payment of damages in road accidents in abroad with cars registered in Bulgaria.

There have been two failed assassination attempts against Alexei Petrov over the years:

  • On the evening of August 15, 2002, Petrov was shot at while leaving the restaurant in front of the “Spartak” pool in the capital. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, two people were firing at the entrance when the former security operative ended up in the illuminated place from the bushes on the opposite side. Alexei Petrov was wounded in the chest and leg, his bodyguard Rumen Peshev- “Boksi” was slightly wounded in the soft part of the arm. The two were admitted to the hospital without danger to their lives.
  • On the morning of October 29, 2015, a car in which Petrov was driving on a street in the "Krastova Vada" district in Sofia was shot at with a grenade launcher. There were no casualties or injuries in the shooting.

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