Bulgaria: The Investigation into the Murder of Alexei Petrov Continues (UPDATED)

Crime | August 17, 2023, Thursday // 09:56
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: The Investigation into the Murder of Alexei Petrov Continues (UPDATED)

The investigation into the murder of Alexei Petrov continues. The motives for the crime remain unclear.

The businessman and former beret Alexei Petrov was shot yesterday during a walk in a wooded area above the capital's "Dragalevtsi" district.

According to unofficial information, the killer used a rifle with an optical sight. So far, investigators have neither confirmed nor denied this.

This is not the first attempt to assassinate him, there were two other attempts before that. According to criminologists and analysts, the motive for the crime may be hidden in his past and may be about money, revenge or settling the score straight.

"One possible motive is some kind of revenge, the other motive is currently an actual settlement of accounts due to some exercise of influence - it could be business influence, it could be unspoken underground influence, it could even be political influence," said Ivan Savov - criminologist .

"On the one hand, it's about money, it's also about ego, and it's about the fact that when two people who have the opportunity to organize such things and targeted killings, the situation is such that one of them has to overtake the other," said Slavi Angelov - investigative journalist.

Tihomir Bezlov: The motives for the murder can be found in the past of Alexei Petrov

Tihomir Bezlov from the Center for the Study of Democracy said on BNT that due to similarities with the previous assassination attempts against Alexei Petrov, the motives for the murder can be sought in the businessman's past. But he himself thinks that it is more likely to be about his activities lately.

"People see a similarity in the approach to the murder of Alexei Petrov. They think of it as an old line of confrontations and hostility. There are even hypotheses, who are the possible guarantors. Rather, we should look for the reason in recent months. The insurance company, which is considered his property, was very active in blocking a law related to European rules for insurance, which had problems first in a committee, but in the end the law was blocked and then there was talk of the 'Alexei Petrov' coalition", explained Tihomir Bezlov, security expert.

According to him, the information shared by the investigators is quite limited. There was a lot of speculation about the woman who was with Alexei Petrov. She was periodically declared dead. There were different comments about the weapon that was used. Even for a long time, there was no confirmation that Alexei Petrov was killed, commented Bezlov.

Journalist Ivo Nikodimov: If the investigators know the motives, they should take measures to prevent further murders

"The motives for the murder of Alexei Petrov must be investigated, because they are of key importance and I hope that the services will have sufficient reliable and detailed operational information. If they know the motives, it would allow them to make a very careful and good analysis and take the necessary measures to prevent further murders" - this is what BNT journalist Ivo Nikodimov commented for the television.

"To detect preparations for further murders, to detect possibly further targets after the attempt on Aleksei Petrov. Along with the guarantors and executors of this targeted murder, it is extremely important that the motives be clear. They may be connected to people, both outside the country, and...abroad, they can also be connected with processes inside the country, and precisely for this reason it is important that these motives, at least at the operational level and operational information, are clear to the investigators," explained Nikodimov.

According to him, there is probably an element of underestimation of security measures. "For the first time, we saw that Alexei Petrov was not moving in an armored vehicle - something that was absolutely unheard of before. In addition, according to the information that is being collected, his bodyguards were about 30-40 meters away from him and the woman in question, which was also in quite a serious distance where it would be difficult to react in a similar situation.

The location of the assassination attempt is also interestingly chosen, probably someone has researched quite seriously and the possibilities for the perpetrator of the murder to withdraw are extremely high, to quickly reach 'Cherni vrah' peak, and from there to Dupnitsa or Pernik, from where one can even leave Bulgaria." Ivo Nikodimov also said.

According to him, there is a high probability that there will be attempts to "wack" others.

"Connections between Karo's murder and Alexei Petrov's murder must be sought. After Karo's murder, a major redistribution of the business he controlled began. Now will begin a serious redistribution of the spheres that Alexei Petrov controlled. He was a person with an extraordinary amount of information, which allowed certain processes to be guided - public, and perhaps political. So there will be a serious shifting of layers and a struggle to take his place", explained the journalist.

According to him, the murder was prepared and carried out in a way that would make the investigation as difficult as possible and to find both the perpetrator and the guarantor:

"Most likely, the guarantor has no direct contact with the perpetrator - the order reached the perpetrator through several intermediaries," suggested Nikodimov.

Lawyer Nikolay Kokinov believes that the murder of Alexei Petrov will remain unsolved

"Over the years, Alexei Petrov has become the object of a prosecutor's investigation. A special prosecutor was sent to work on his case (prosecutor Kostov, who at the time in Burgas had achieved success in relation to an organized criminal group) and in fact, he started this case as a supervising prosecutor" - this is what Nikolay Kokinov said on BNT - lawyer and former city prosecutor of Sofia.

"He was the kind of person who had a strong presence in all the fields he was involved in, including teaching, the insurance business, the combat sports and the federations he was involved in. He was bright in character," Kokinov said.

He thinks this will be another unsolved murder.

"These murders usually distinguish the perpetrator from the guarantor and the helpers. If the perpetrator is discovered by chance, he does not always know who the guarantor is," specified Nikolay Kokinov.

Markovski: Alexei Petrov was most likely killed by a single shot to the head with a carbine

"The professional style of this shooting is impressive. This crime was very well organized and planned for a long time. It is common knowledge that there is target shooting that is not at close range. This is associated with serious preparation for a long-barreled rifled weapon, most likely a carbine equipped with precision optics. It is most likely a single shot to the head". This is what lawyer Dimitar Markovski said on Nova TV.

According to him, it remains to be determined whether Petrov's companion was wounded with the same weapon. "If there is anything else, then there were two shooters on the spot. The 'Bai Krastyo' area itself is like a funnel - there are quite high points from which target shooting can be carried out at a considerable distance. The whole handwriting speaks of a fairly good organization," he said.

For his part, the journalist Zahari Belchev from "Telegraph" believes that there were expectations that a new attempt could be made against Alexei Petrov. "There are no bushes on the road where the murder took place, there is good visibility. It is assumed that it was fired from the road itself, but it is not known whether from a car or a bicycle. The perpetrator may have moved as a tourist by bicycle, by public transport, or by being picked up by a car," he pointed out.

According to him, the police probably had operational information on searches, because the 'Petrokhan Pass' was closed yesterday afternoon.

Demerdzhiev: Alexei Petrov advertised himself as the cabinet architect

"The most recent role with which Alexei Petrov presented himself, but many other analysts also associated him with this, was his role in the formation of the last cabinet. He himself presented himself as almost the architect of this cabinet, as a mediator, as a guarantor of its happening. He advertised this government as something that is a fact and will technically be voted on at some point in the National Assembly. This, for me, was the new role of Alexei Petrov", commented former interior minister Ivan Demerdzhiev on Nova TV.

According to him, this information was also confirmed by other sources.

"I mean the information about meetings between him and Boyko Borissov, meetings between him and Petko Petkov (Kiril Petkov's father). Such as Alexei Petrov himself spoke about", said Demerdzhiev.

"I was left with the impression that he was not just manifesting himself, but also other circumstances pointed to the fact that he was again the architect and guarantor of what happened and led to the formation of the government," stated Demerdzhiev.

The very calm with which Alexei Petrov acted in recent weeks, even on the day he was killed, showed, according to the former interior minister, that Petrov "had no worries related to his previous lifestyle, related to his business, related to his participation in such structures, which are characterized as criminal by some", said Demerdzhiev.

"He was so calm, confident, self-confident - to me it means that this person believed that he had reached a level of protection even by the state. And who had an interest in this person and such a person being removed, the prosecutor's office and the investigation should now give an answer in the case", commented the former interior minister.

Regarding Petrov's comments some time ago calling for the former chief prosecutor Ivan Geshev to step down, Demerdzhiev said:

"At one point, I was left with the feeling that this person Alexei Petrov became the spokesperson for all that led to the following processes, and I associate him with this quality of his, above all, because I have heard such appeals from other people, but they were not made publicly, including by politicians. He was clearly one of the few people who publicly made these appeals and invited Mr. Geshev to resign," commented Demerdzhiev.

"He began to manifest himself as a speaker, in my opinion, but of course not only proactively, and that was part of his role," said the former interior minister.

I wouldn't say a face, but a serious factor. As defined by the architect and guarantor of the assembly", said Demerdzhiev.

He emphasized that in the last more than five years there has not been a single showcase murder in Bulgaria. Demerdzhiev emphasized that the murder of Krasimir Kamenov - Karo, who has not lived in Bulgaria for 20 years, took place in South Africa.

"By the way, people from the criminal world do not allow themselves such actions, unless certain political processes suggest that this should happen," said Demerdzhiev.

Alexei Petrov has long been involved in both cyber security and insurance, he is known as a former employee of various security services. All this has been going on for more than 20 years and has not resulted in death, but on the contrary - he was one of the people with failed assassination attempts.

"Whether there are two, whether there are three unsuccessful ones, before this successful one, it is argued on this topic, but in fact, an extremely experienced, extremely cautious person, who on that day, yesterday the day of the murder, did not believe, did not expect that there was an occasion and a reason for someone to encroach on his life, so I, if you ask me personally what the connection is, I believe that this last role of his, which I commented on a while ago, deserves the greatest attention".

The motive, according to Demerdzhiev, could be that he is "a person with an extremely large amount of information, a person familiar with the genesis of many processes, perhaps such a person is inconvenient."

Asked about Petrov's great enemies, Demerdzhiev stated:

"There's been a lot of information over the years. He has enemies, friends. Things are quite variable there.

Recently, it seems that he has made a lot of friends, but most often the friends are the ones who come to the opportunity to hurt the most severely the one who was protecting himself from his enemies", said Demerdzhiev.

"I believe that such a murder can be solved, especially if the analysis of all processes is carefully examined," said the former interior minister.

"Whether the physical killer will be caught is one thing, that will be very difficult. For me, the guarantor is important", said Demerdzhiev.

Tsvetlin Yovchev: They gave informal power to Alexei Petrov, then let him out of control

"It is quite possible that someone was tempted to use Alexei Petrov as a weapon against his opponents. His latest appearances, comments, the publication of photos - suggest such a thought".

This was stated by the former chairman of the State Agency for National Security (SANS) and interior minister Tsvetlin Yovchev, commenting on the murder of Aleksei Petrov yesterday, on bTV. It was Yovchev who released Petrov as an advisor in SANS.

"Alexei Petrov is a controversial person. In any case, looking for the reasons for the murder, we can find them in the past, in the present and harming interests of the future. The investigators will have the opportunity to form realistic hypotheses at the end of this day", Yovchev added.

In his words, "at the time, many power groups were tempted to use Alexei Petrov as a weapon against their opponents. They gave him informal power and then let him out of control. The period of the 'Triple Coalition' was particularly telling", explained Tsvetlin Yovchev.

"Then it became clear that Alexei Petrov is an employee of the Operational Cover of the National Security Service. I considered it unacceptable for a person with his profile to be associated with the services," he pointed out.

"Alexei Petrov is a person with qualities. Whether he was suitable for politics, services or executive power is another matter. Over the years, he has shown the ability to get under the skin of politicians, people in power and in the prosecutor's office. I wouldn't be surprised if he found a way and an approach. Especially if people are not prepared for the functioning of the political system, social processes and who they talk to and what this can lead to," Yovchev specified.

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