Defendant in Bulgarian PM Murder Case Reiterates InnocenceCrime | January 16, 2011, Sunday // 14:15| views
Alexander Russov, Alexey Kichatov, and Georgi Georgiev, seen in court, listening to their not-guilty verdict. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency
The Ukrainian national, Alexander Russov, one of the main defendants in the high-profile murder case of Bulgarian Prime Minister, Andrey Lukanov, continues to claim full innocence.
In rare interview for the TV channel bTV on Sunday, Russov said he did not even know about the murder and learned Lukanov's name only after being taken to court.
The former defendant informed he lives well and in peace with his wife and small daughter, adding anyone could have been in his shoes, accused of a crime he never committed.
Russov stated at the time of the murder he was in Bulgaria on business matters, and one day ended up being abducted, beaten and accused of killing a Bulgarian PM.
The Ukrainian told about a 7-year-long nightmare where he had been subject to endless police interrogations and psychological attacks. He was offered a plea bargain – to admit his guilt and walk free after 12 years in prison, but declined, convinced in his innocence and over his strong belief in God.
Russov further said he is writing a book about his story and is preparing his own version in solving Lukanov's murder.
"I don't hate Bulgaria; I even want to relocate and live here," the Ukrainian pointed out.
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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