15 September 2020

Press release of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office


Sofia City Prosecutor's Office provides information about the pre- trial proceeding for the poisoning of E.Gebrev, H.Gebrev and V. Takhchiev

With regard to the received inquiries of Bulgarian and foreign media representers and after the permission of the supervising prosecutors under Article 198 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office provides information about instituted proceeding for attempted assassinations of three Bulgarian citizens - Em. Gebrev, Hr. Gebrev and V. Takhchiev.

Three Russian citizens were indicted in the pre-trial proceeding: Georgi Gorshkov, born in 1977, Sergey Pavlov, born in 1982, and Sergey Fedotov, born in 1973,  for the committing  crime within the meaning of Article 116, para 1, p. 4, p. 3, p. 6, p. 1, para 1, item 9, supra art. 115, supra art. 20, para 2, supra para 1, supra art. 18, para 1 of the Criminal Code, on 21.01.2020. It has been established that on 15.02.2015 the three of them entered the territory of Bulgaria through the Sofia Airport with three different flights. During the investigation, were carried out multiple searches of hotel rooms used by the accused. Hotel managers and employees were examined. Searches were also carried out of a double-room apartment located in the capital that according to a received data was used by Gorshkov and Fedotov. Searches were carried out also in the parking lot, where in accordance to the evidence the crime was committed. The cars that the accused used to rent during their stay in the country have also been identified.


At the request of the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office, the three Russian citizens have been requested for an international search by Interpol with a Red Notice. In the view of the additional information gathered, the three use the identities of the persons as follows: for Georgi Gorshkov - Egor Gordienko; for Sergey Pavlov - Sergey Lyutenko; for Sergey Fedotov - Denis Sergeev, Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has taken actions to supplement and upgrade the already issued European Arrest Warrant, as well as the requests for an international search, followed by an arrest and subsequent extradition. Actions have also been taken to supplement and update the information already submitted to the Schengen Information System and Interpol. Despite these procedural actions, there is an obstacle to the transfer of persons to the Bulgarian authorities, as there is a legal regulation prohibiting the extradition of Russian citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to another country.

Within the investigation Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office has checked up a possible participation of other people in the criminal act, including people of different nations but there is no data confirming it yet. At the same time prior this investigation there are four more attempted assassinations of Emilian Gebrev. Two of these attempts are conducted outside Bulgaria but Gebrev did not signal about them yet.

Within the proceeding Bulgarian side initiated multiple times sharing information with international partners, incl. data of identical cases of poisoning, conducted on the territory of other countries. 

The statements are totally not accurate that the Bulgarian side did not undertake any actions for seeing expert help by the Organization for prohibition of chemical weapons. In a written response of the Organization it was stated that a secondary analysis of the samples, taken from the victims, is not needed and would be a precedent in the practice of the Organization. Moreover the Finnish laboratory “Verifin” prepared the expertise used in the investigation is certificated by the same Organization for prohibition of chemical weapons. The expert decision of “Verifin” clearly gives information about the nature of the substance used for the attempt to kill. To the pre-trial proceeding are set 15 medical-biological expertises of different samples of the victims and objects used by them and could be beneficial for the determination of the substance used for the poisoning. Forensic Research Institute – Ministry of Interior stated that the substance used by the criminal act is ORGANOSPHORUS COMPOUND-CHLOROPYRIFOS. This conclusion is confirmed also by the director of the Finnish Institute for the Review of the Chemical Weapons Convention “Verifin” at the University of Helsinki, i.e. the nature of the substance is namely ORGANOSPHORUS COMPOUND. Both substances are derivative. 

One more statement is categorically incorrect, namely that the pre-trial proceeding is terminated. At the time on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria have been conducted all the possible investigative actions. The prosecutors in charge of the case, the investigating authorities and the Sofia City Directorate of Interior, Ministry of the Interior and the State Agency for National Security made extreme efforts to collect and verify the evidences compatible to the crime act in accordance to the Criminal proceeding code. International legal assistant requests were sent to different countries and it is expected to be answered. Part of the requests is related with a locating of the persons brought to criminal responsibility. With regard to the above-mentioned, the only possible legal opportunity is the suspensive appeal in accordance to Article 199, para. 1 и para. 244, para. 1, p. 1 of Criminal Proceeding Code, Article 25, para.1 p.2 и para.2 of Criminal Proceeding Code.