Bulgaria to check Skripal suspect link to 2015 poisoning

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AFP) – Bulgaria will investigate reports that a new suspect in the Skripal nerve agent attack in Britain may also have been involved in a 2015 poisoning in Bulgaria, a ruling party lawmaker said last Saturday.

A parliamentary committee will on Thursday seek information from the intelligence services following a new investigation into the attempted poisoning of local businessman Emiliyan Gebrev, said Tsvetan Tsvetanov, the parliamentary leader of the ruling GERB party.

“I am certain that the necessary coordination has already been set up between the Bulgarian, British and European authorities on the case and they are working actively on it,” he added.

The statement was the first official reaction in Bulgaria to a report issued last week by the investigative website Bellingcat.

Their report identified a hitherto unknown third suspect in last year’s attack in Salisbury, England, of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Skripal and his adult daughter were discovered unconscious on a Salisbury park bench after they had been poisoned by the highly toxic nerve agent Novichok in an attack the British government says was “almost certainly” approved by the Russian state.

Although they both recovered, a British woman died last June after her partner picked up a discarded perfume bottle that investigators believe was used to carry the Novichok.

An army specialist removes bricks and rubble from the home of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury. – AP