Bulgaria Probes Past of Nabbed Former Agent
A parliamentary body, which monitors Bulgaria's National State Security Agency (DANS), will continue to probe the career of a former undercover agent and an alleged ringleader of a crime group, who was arrested ealrier this year.
Former Interior Minister Emanuil Yordanov and former National Security Service (NSS) heads Atanas Atanasov and Ivan Chobanov faced the commission at the end of April, but refused to disclose information about Aleksei Petrov's professional development in the security services.
Former Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov, former head of DANS agency Petko Sertov and its deputy head Ivan Drashkov will testify on Thursday.
It is so far known that Petrov was recruited at NSS in 2001 by the then Interior Minister Emanuil Yordanov at the proposal of the service's then chief Atanas Atanasov. The events have unfolded in the last moonths of term of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Ivan Kostov.
Petrov has recently demanded that the parliamentary body discloses information that he has provided about the country's secret services, only to be accused of playing behind-the-curtain games.
“If Aleksei Petrov had something to say, I don’t know why he missed excellent opportunities to do that before and after his arrest. The prison cell provides a very good rostrum to talk to the media,” the parliamentary body chair, nationalist leader Volen Siderov, commented on Monday.
According to Siderov, Petrov has approached him with the only aim of trying to present himself as a victim.
Aleksei Petrov, who was arrested in the middle of February on charges of money laundering, racketeering, drug trafficking, bribery and tax fraud, sent earlier this month a letter to the nationalist leader Volen Siderov, who was just about to take over the leadership of the parliamentary body from the right-wing leader Ivan Kostov.
"Mr Siderov, I approach you in your capacity of chair (of the parliamentary commission for control over the State National Security Agency DANS) to do what it takes for the declassification of the information that I have provided,” the letter read.
Petrov did not shy away from saying that the information in question concerns the mechanisms for dealing with people, who stood in the way of DANS, including their murder.
“I decided to disclose in front of the commission this phenomenon of Bulgaria's transition (from communism to market economy), fully aware of the risk that I take and the pressure that I may be subjected to,” Petrov wrote in the letter.
Petrov, one of the most controversial and mysterious figures of the country's transition, had a meeting with the parliamentary commission for control over DANS in November last year. He claims to have disclosed “scaring truths” for the operations of the secret services, part of which he himself has been. Now he demands that the verbatim report from this meeting is disclosed.
A total of 14 men and women were arrested in the middle of February in the special police operation codenamed “Octopus”, which targeted a large-scale organized crime group. The crimes of which Aleksei Petrov and the other defendants are accused have been committed in the period 1997-2010
Aleksei Petrov, who was an advisor of the former State National Security Agency DANS Director, Petko Sertov, resigned from the Agency on August 31, 2009, a month after the Borisov government took office, in his own words, over disagreement with the new methods of work at the institution.
DANS itself was set up as an institution by former Socialist Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev himself by pooling together three previously existing counter-intelligence services.
It started operating on January 1, 2008, and has managed to generate a number of scandals ever since – including the spying on leading journalist (i.e. the Galeria case) and the missing top secret reports – a case under which Stanishev himself is facing charges on mishandling classified information.
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