Resumption Possible for Bulgaria Communist PM Murder Case

Crime | December 11, 2009, Friday // 14:27|  views

The Bulgarian Justice Minister, Margartia Popova, said in parliament that there were no procedural obstacles to prevent the Lukanov murder case being resumed. Photo by BGNES

Justice Minister Margarita Popova has stated in the Bulgarian Parliament that there are no procedural obstacles to prevent the resumption of the so-called “Lukanov case”.

She made the declaration in answer to a question tabled on Friday by the Parliamentary Deputy Speaker, Georgi Pirinski, of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).

Popova commented that such a controversial case should be monitored especially carefully by the Sofia City Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial authorities.

The Justice Minister confirmed that, under the provisions of the present Penal Code, there were procedures, stipulated in Chapter III, that allowed such cases to be reopened, subject to certain conditions in existing and any future, legislation.

The exchange between Pirinski and the Justice Minister refers to the trial of the alleged assassins of Andrey Lukanov, Bulgaria’s last Communist Prime Minister.

He had risen through the ranks of the Foreign Service and became Foreign Minister, but later resigned from this position and took part in the overthrow of long-time leader Todor Zhivkov in 1989.

In 1990, Lukanov served as Bulgaria's last Communist Prime Minister, at a time marked by corruption, massive food shortages, and civil unrest.

Lukanov was later charged with embezzlement and arrested, but charges were soon dropped. He had been engaged in controversial business dealings and had often been held responsible for Bulgaria's foreign debt.

Lukanov remained an active political participant in the Bulgarian Socialist (formerly Communist) Party, often criticizing its various members.

He was murdered in 1995 outside his apartment building in Sofia. He was shot in the head and chest by a lone gunman who fled and was never captured. The motive for Lukanov's murder remains unknown, but it is largely believed that he was killed by a hired assassin, probably paid for by a political or business enemy, from the same communist circles he belonged to.

On March 15, 2007 the Supreme Cassation Court acquitted all defendants in the trail for Lukanov's murder - Alexander Russov, Aleksey Kichatov, Georgi Georgiev, and Yuri Kutepkin, whose body had recently been discovered.

In February 2009, the court again postponed the related murder trial of Kutepkin.

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Tags: Andrey Lukanov, Margarita Popova, Georgi Pirinski, Justice Minister


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