19 March 2021

6 persons have been indicted for participating in a foreign espionage group

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Under the supervision of the Military Prosecutor's Office of Appeals - Sofia, pre-trial proceedings are being conducted for crimes under Chapter I of the Penal Code (Crimes against the Republic).

The pre-trial proceedings were instituted for crimes under Art. 109 of the Penal Code (leading and participating in a group for committing crimes against the Republic) and under Art.104, para 1 of the Penal Code (espionage in favor of a foreign state).

The subject of investigation is the activity of Bulgarian citizens – military and government officials in various state institutions (Ministry of Defense, Military Information Service, etc.), related to the national security of the country, for whom there is data to have collected  classified information for the purpose of revealing it to a foreign state.

On March 18, 2021, after collecting the necessary amount of data on the criminal activity, active actions were taken to neutralize their anti-state activity.

A large number of high-intensity investigative actions were carried out, in particular searches of personal and business addresses and related to them seizures, whereas material evidence relevant to the subject of the investigation was seized - computers, mobile devices, multiple SDs and SIM cards, as well as written documentation relevant to the subject matter of the investigation;

Supervising prosecutors from the Supreme Cassation Prosecutor's Office also took part in the actions carried out.

As a result of the actions carried out in the course of investigation, 6 persons were brought to criminal responsibility under Art. 104, para 1 of the Penal Code (espionage in favor of a foreign state). 5 of the persons have been charged with a crime under Art. 109, para 2 of the Penal Code (participation in a group for committing crimes under Chapter I), and in respect of one person - the leader of the group, for a crime under Art.109, para 1 of the Penal Code.

By order of the supervising prosecutor 5 of the persons were detained for up to 72 hours under Art. 64, para 2 of the PPC, and an assessment will be made regarding a request for their permanent detention.

One of the persons who fully co-operated in the investigation was imposed restraining measure of guarantee.

One of the accused managed to escape in the course of the ongoing investigation. All possible actions were carried out immediately and the same person was found near the Embassy of the Russian Federation. Criminal proceedings have been instituted under the supervision of the Military District Prosecutor's Office - Sofia to clarify the above circumstances and possibly the guilty officials.

The present information shall be provided after a permit issued by the supervising prosecutor in the pre-trial proceedings under Art. 198, para 1 of the PPC in a volume that would not complicate both the further course of the investigation and the national security of the Republic of Bulgaria.