Bulgaria Court Leaves Alleged 'Octopus Head' in Jail
The Sofia City Court decided late Wednesday evening to keep former secret agent and alleged ringleader of the crime group codenamed “Octopus” behind bars.
The rule came after a 12-hour-long court session. Three other charges were brought against Petrov earlier during the day – for racket, coercion and leak of classified information. The prosecution informed they found at Petrov’s home a file with top secret information.
According to the defense council, the prosecutors contradict themselves because they say Petrov had leaked the secret information before the State Agency for National Security (DANS) was founded, but on the other hand side insist the former secret agent learned about the information inside the file after he became a DANS employee.
Petrov’s lawyers further stated they were spied on and their discussion about defense strategy has been taped. The defendants have also been taped with surveillance devices mounted secretly in their jail cells. One of the tapes was presented before the magistrates. There the inmates can be heart discussing the political situation in the country and slandering Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov.
Petrov told the magistrates that he had been arrested just one month after he met with Tsvetanov, told him that the Interior and DANS are used for political intrigue and lobbying and provided concrete names. The busted ex secret agent further reiterated earlier statements he had written a letter to the current cabinet criticizing their policies towards the small and medium businesses in Bulgaria. Petrov firmly denied accusations of leaking classified information along with media reports he knows the head of the Sofia Appellate Court, Veselin Pengezov, rumored to having ties with the “Octopus.”
Petrov walked into the court-room on crutches due to what he called a trauma from the time of the assassination attempt against him in 2002. The shooting occurred in front of Spartak complex in the capital Sofia, where Petrov’s offices are located.
It was reported that during the court session, Petrov threatened one of the prosecutors in the case, saying “let him stay in my jail cell and see what will happen to him.”
Marchelo Dzholotov, who was also arrested during the special police operation “Octopus” was kept behind bars as well.
The decision can be appealed.
Aleksei Petrov was arrested together with 13 other people on February 10 in Operation Octopus when police searched his offices at the Spartak pool complex, which he owns, together with a number of other premises around Sofia.
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