28 April 2021

Statement of the spokesperson of the Prosecutor General, the Specialized Prosecutor's Office and SANS regarding pre-trial proceedings concerning national security of the country

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Today, April 28, 2021 in the building of the Palace of Justice, the spokesperson of the Prosecutor General - Siyka Mileva, the Administrative Head of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office - Valentina Madjarova and the Director of the State Agency for National Security - Dimitar Georgiev made a statement regarding pre-trial proceedings conducted by the Specialized Prosecutor's Office concerning national security of the country.

Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev expressed his gratitude for the actions of the Specialized Prosecutor's Office and the State Agency for National Security (SANS) in the interest of the Bulgarian national security. "Bulgarian prosecutors and investigators have been working on the case for many years in the interest of the Bulgarian national security… I am here to encourage my colleagues from the Specialized Prosecutor's Office to continue working in the same way in the interest of the Bulgarian national security, the security of our European partners and especially in the interest of Bulgarian citizens and society", said Ivan Geshev.

 

We also publish herewith to your attention the full text of:

STATEMENT BY THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE PROSECUTOR GENERAL

In the last ten years, a number of cases related to explosions have been registered in warehouses and production facilities in factories for the production and disposal of explosives, weapons and ammunition. The Prosecutor's Office, along with the State Agency for National Security and the Special Operations and Combating Terrorism Directorate within the General Directorate of Gendarmerie, analyzed some of the cases, as a result of which similarities were found in four of them.

The first case dated November 12, 2011 is related to the village of Lovni dol, when a warehouse owned by the company "EMCO" was blown up. A significant amount of ammunition and explosives destined for export to Georgian Ministry of Defense was destroyed. It has been found that the owner of the companies whose products were stored in the affected warehouse is the Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev.

The second case was in 2015 near the village of Iganovo, where a warehouse for finished products of the military plant VMZ-Sopot was blown up. According to information from the Ministry of Economy, part of the destroyed production is also owned by the trade company EMCO.

The third case is again in 2015, when in the village of Iganovo a production facility for ammunition of VMZ-Sopot was blown up.

On May 31, 2015 a fire broke out in the building of the former Institute of Special Equipment, located in Sofia, which is subject of investigation in another pre-trial proceeding. As a result of the fire, the seized material evidence in the case of the explosions in the warehouses of VMZ-Sopot, village of Iganovo was burned. According to the conclusion of the appointed fire technical expertise, the fire did not occur as a result of self-ignition.

The fourth case was in 2020 near the town of Maglizh, when a warehouse for detonator capsules and igniter capsules at the Arsenal plant in the town of Kazanlak was blown up. Arsenal is a strategic site of importance for our national security according to a Decree of the Council of Ministers.

According to the expertise of the Specialized Counter Terrorism Unit (SCTU), appointed in the cases, the four accidents have similarities, which at the same time distinguish them from other cases of explosions of similar warehouses during the same period.

In all four cases, the research of the accident scene did not identify any specific causes that led to the explosion.

There are no casualties in all the listed explosions.

There is a previous fire in the cases under investigation, and the working version is that the purpose of causing the fire is for the people nearby to withdraw. It is assumed that the time period for extinguishing fires was used to trigger the charges. It is definitely established that the activation of the charges in all cases was done remotely.

In none of the cases was a specific technical malfunction or other cause of the fires found.

In all four explosions, the destroyed production was destined for export to Georgia and Ukraine.

Each of the explosions is subject to investigation by the relevant competent prosecutor's offices in the Republic of Bulgaria.

In view of the identity in the manner of initiating and carrying out the explosions, the explosive used and the products involved, the pre-trial proceedings were consolidated and monitored by the Specialized Prosecutor's Office.

From the information received through international cooperation, as well as the immediate coordination and actions of the State Agency for National Security, a reasonable assumption can be made about the relation between the explosions on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, the attempts for poisoning of three Bulgarian citizens and serious crimes committed on the territory of foreign countries.

We remind that three Russian citizens were brought as defendants for the attempt to intentionally killing of three Bulgarian citizens, who, according to the security services data, most likely belong to the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Federation. At the request of the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, they were declared internationally wanted by Interpol with a red bulletin, with a view to arrest and subsequent extradition.

In the course of the investigation it was found that six Russian citizens resided on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria around the dates of the explosions and the attempts for poisoning of the three Bulgarian citizens. From the evidence collected so far, with a high level of confidence it is concluded that the purpose of the actions of Russian citizens was to cut off the supply of special products to Georgia and Ukraine.

Evidence is gathering for the involvement of these six persons - Russian citizens, for possible crimes committed by them under Chapter One of the Criminal Code. The mechanisms of international legal cooperation with the Czech Republic are used in order to establish a link between the pre-trial proceedings initiated on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria and the investigation conducted by the Czech authorities regarding the blown up and destroyed ammunition storehouses in October 2014 in the Czech Republic, where products of the trade company "EMKO" were also stored.