January 23, 2020

Bulgaria Charges Three Russians in Skripal-Linked Investigation
(Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria charged three Russians for the attempted murder of an arms dealer in an investigation linked to the poisoning attack against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K.Authorities in the Balkan state have been working with the U.K. and the FBI over the poisoning of Emilian Gebrev, the head of small-arms and ammunition maker Emco OOD, which drew similarities with the 2018 attack against Skripal and his daughter in the city of Salisbury.Prosecutors issued European arrest warrants and has requested an international manhunt for the three unnamed Russian citizens. The alleged attackers used a phosphorus-like substance to poison Gebrev, his son and an employee of his company in 2015, the prosecutors’ office said in a statement Thursday.Bulgaria, which has traditionally strong cultural and economic ties with its Cold War ally Russia, didn’t join most European Union states in expelling Russian diplomats after the U.K. poisoning case. The government then said it needed more proof of Russia’s involvement.Sergei Fedotov, one of the Russians suspected by U.K. authorities of having a connection to the Skripal case, visited Bulgaria several times in 2015.Some of Fedotov’s companions booked a hotel room next to Emco’s office with direct view of its underground parking garage, prosecutors said last month. One of the possible reasons for the unsuccessful attack against Gebrev could be arms exports to Ukraine at the time, they said.To contact the reporter on this story: Slav Okov in Sofia at sokov@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Irina Vilcu at isavu@bloomberg.net, Michael Winfrey, Piotr BujnickiFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
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