A spy network has been set up in Bulgaria to gather EU intelligence for the country, NATO and Russia. The group was led by a former senior official of the Bulgarian Military Intelligence Service.
The Bulgarian police and judiciary have arrested 6 members of the network. A spokesman for the public prosecutor said some of them had served in the Bulgarian army. National security is compromised by espionage, he says.
According to the government, the investigation into the network is of “particular importance” to the European Union, NATO and the United States. The leader of the network was actively looking for partners who could access the secret services of NATO member states.
The former officer referred to as ‘de Burger’ at the trial was key to the network. He trained with the Bulgarian Military Intelligence Service and, in the past, worked as a teacher with the Russian secret service GROe.
His current partner is a Russian national. He is said to have maintained good relations with the Russian embassy in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, and regularly sent information and envelopes to Russian diplomats with money.
Another member of the spy network manages the classified information list of the Bulgarian parliament Sophia Globe.
All the 6 spies arrested were arrested yesterday in a large-scale police operation. Several approaches to Sofia were blocked when one of the suspects tried to escape. He was subsequently arrested near the Russian embassy.
Relationship under pressure
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has said that Russia may violate the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations because the embassy is involved in espionage. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen it,” the statement said.
Last year, Bulgaria deported a total of five Russian ambassadors for intelligence. They were looking for modernization and maintenance plans for the equipment of the Bulgarian army. They could not be prosecuted because of their diplomatic immunity. One of them is now said to be involved in the rolled network.
The Balkans have long been one of Moscow’s main allies in Eastern Europe. Slavic countries are culturally close to each other. Bulgaria is an important transportation country from Russia to oil and gas.
The rolling of a spy network comes at a critical time. Bulgaria will hold parliamentary elections in two weeks. The Christian Democrat GERP of Prime Minister Paiko Borisov, who has been accused of corruption. In the election Is in the forefront, but the Socialist Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, is closely followed. The party wants an end to European sanctions against Russia.