Bulgaria Court Sends Ukrainian Tangled in PM Murder to Jail

Crime | February 17, 2010, Wednesday // 10:49|  views

The Sofia City Court sent Wednesday the Ukrainian national Aleksey Kichatov to a maximum security prison over the murder of his fellow Ukrainian Yuri Kutepkin. Photo by BNGES

The Sofia City Court sentenced Ukrainian citizen, Aleksey Kichatov, to 12 years behind bars for the murder of fellow countryman, Yri Kutepkin.

Both are connected to the murder for hire of Bulgaria’s former Prime minister, Andrey Lukanov, where Kichatov was declared not guilty in Lukanov’ assassination and Kutepkin was deemed the physical killer.

The Ukrainians had joint business and were known for having heated arguments.

In 1999, in the middle of the probe of Lukanov’s murder, Kutepkin’s body was found in a well in the town of Elin Pelin near Sofia. Police was led to the location through Kichatov’s admission he had murdered Kutepkin while a top Bulgarian police officer had been watching.

The admissions were made at the notorious Interior Ministry facility in the town of Koprivshtitsa where all suspects in Lukanov’s murder were interrogated.

Kichatov is to serve his sentence in a maximum security prison.

Andrey Lukanov is 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 the already deceased Yuri Kutepkin.

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Tags: Andrey Lukanov, Aleksey Kichatov


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