The Guardian: UK and Bulgaria Investigate 2015 Poisoning of Bulgarian Arms Dealer
Britain and Bulgaria are jointly investigating the 2015 poisoning of a Bulgarian arms dealer to determine whether it involved novichok, the nerve agent used in the poisoning of Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury last year, the Guardian writes.
The investigation was announced on Monday, after the British ambassador to Bulgaria met Boyko Borissov, the country's prime minister, and other senior officials. It came after reports that one of the potential suspects in the Skripal poisoning was also allegedly in Bulgaria at the time of the poisoning of the arms dealer.
"We are working in a joint team and a close partnership, and we are going to find out the facts in this case," ambassador Emma Hopkins told reporters in Sofia.
Emilian Gebrev was hospitalised in April 2015 after collapsing at a reception he was hosting in Sofia. His son and one of his company's executives also fell ill shortly after, and all three were hospitalised. Gebrev fell into a coma, and doctors surmised he had been poisoned, though they could not identify the poison used.The Bulgarian investigation into Gebrev's poisoning was reopened in October, after he told Bulgarian prosecutors he believed the substance used against him could have been similar to novichok, Bulgaria's chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said on Monday.
The story gained little attention at the time, and reports of a possible novichok link only surfaced in a Bulgarian newspaper report last month. Last week, the investigative site Bellingcat claimed it had discovered that a possible suspect in the Skripal poisoning had been in Bulgaria at the time Gebrev fell ill.
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