Bulgaria Notorious 'Octopus' Stays behind Bars

Crime | October 18, 2012, Thursday // 20:44|  views

Sofia Court of Appeals decided that the defendant Alexey Petrov (pictured) is taken good care of and if released, he may commit another crime. Photo by BGNES

Controversial Bulgarian businessman and ex-secret agent Alexey Petrov will remain permanently in detention, Sofia court of appeals has ruled.

Sofia Court of Appeals decided that the defendant is taken good care of and if released, he may commit another crime.

The verdict is not subject to appeal.

Petrov, who has been tried in the complicated high-profile 'Octopus' case for organized crime, was arrested at the beginning of May in the court hall after two witnesses said he pressured them to change their testimonials.

Petrov was first arrested in February 2010 and was not released on own recognizance until October, having spent what he claims to have been 8 months of abuse in the prison, during which his health allegedly deteriorated.

Petrov, a former employee of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, murky businessman and alleged crime boss, together with five other people, is facing charges of racketeering and extortion.

The detainees in the "Octopus" case were initially charged with organizing prostitution, drug trafficking, money laundering, racketeering, tax fraud and embezzlement.

In the summer of 2010, the prosecutor declared that it was impossible to solve the case with one trial and opened two trials against a total of 25 defendants, deploying a team of three prosecutors.

Petrov was released on house arrest in October 2010 after spending 8 months under arrest, which in February 2011 was changed to own recognizance. He ran for President in the end-October elections.

He continues to insist that the case against him is political retribution. He has vowed to sue for libel all who testify against him, stressing that this case will end up being a serious blow to national security and a humiliation for Bulgaria. In his words the cabinet and personally Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, are racketeering him.

He has further denied pressuring any witnesses.

At the end of January, Ex-England Attorney General Lord Peter Goldsmith officially joined Petrov's defense team, hinting for journalists that he believes his client is innocent.

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Tags: Alexey Petrov, mafia, DANS, trial, court, racketeering, extortion, witness, prosecution, Octopus, Plamen Ustinov, trial, Prosecutor, Sofia City Court, Litex, Grisha Ganchev, Vasil Bozhkov


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