published : 2023-08-22
Bulgarian Tycoon Murdered in Broad Daylight Amid Shocking Rise in Violence
High-profile killings, common in Bulgaria's tumultuous 90s, resurface with the death of businessman and former presidential candidate Alexey Petrov
Alexey Petrov, a pivotal figure in the shift of Bulgaria from communism to democracy, became a victim of an audacious assassination on a routine Wednesday afternoon.
The 61-year-old businessman was declared dead at the scene in a suburb of Sofia, the nation's capital, after assailants, currently unidentified, launched their deadly attack.
Petrov's sudden demise in broad daylight has sent shockwaves through a country that had thought its days of regular public murders were consigned to history in the 1990s.
An unlucky female companion, bearing the brunt of the attack, was rushed to a nearby emergency hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound.
With surprising urgency, authorities have initiated pre-trial proceedings and are rigorously scrutinizing the crime scene.
Petrov, a former state security agent and karate champion, was no stranger to personal danger, having survived at least two other attempts on his life.
Following the demise of communism, Petrov quit the police force to set up his private enterprise, leading him to become a partner in over 50 different companies by 2002.
His checkered past includes a 2010 arrest on charges of presiding over a criminal gang involved in activities ranging from extortion to money laundering.
Despite the severity of allegations, Petrov was released on bail and eventually acquitted, with his political ambitions highlighted just a year later when he ran for the presidential election.
In recent times, he served as the leading figure of one of Bulgaria's major insurance companies while also acting as an advisor to the State Agency for National Security's head and moonlighting as a university economics lecturer.
Although eruptions of lethal violence against public figures were alarmingly recurrent in the 1990s, this latest flare-up of shocking brutality has astounded the nation and raised questions about its social stability and rule of law.