11 September 2008

"The Dual Life of Agent Picadilly" - new facts about the murder of Georgy Markov

On 11 September the journalist Hristo Hristov from Dnevnik newspaper presented his new book "The Dual Life of Agent Piccadilly." The book discloses unknown facts about the involvement of the Bulgarian communist secret services in the assassination of the BBC journalist Georgy Markov in London in 1978. The documents underlying the book were obtained through the Access to Public information Act.



Hristov has started his investigation on the case back in the 90s. He has collected a lot of data reading different archives in Bulgaria and abroad. The result was the finding that Markov was actually killed by Italian, Francesco Gullino who eventually became an agent for the Bulgarian state security service in the beginning of the 70s. However it appeared that 10 folders with documents related to the case and kept by the foreign intelligence department of the state security service (1st department) were destroyed in 1990.



The Dual Life of Agent Piccadilly comes as a second volume after the Hristov’s first book “Kill the Tramp”. The latter was published without research of the documents kept with the new Bulgarian National Intelligence Service (established in 1991) which inherited big volume of the former state security archives. This happened because of the definite refusal of its Director to disclose any document related to the issue.



The journalist appealed the denial with the legal assistance of the Access to Information Programme. In the first instance court the journalist was represented by attorney Kiril Terziyski who argued against the NIS lawyers’ attempts to terminate the case on procedural grounds. In its decision the Sofia City Court ruled that the documents at issue cannot be classified and therefore withheld anymore as the time duration for protection has expired.



The NIS appealed the decision before the Supreme Administrative Court. It argued that in the meantime a new law on access to the archives of the former secret services was adopted where NIS is not obliged subject. The argument was dismissed and the court upheld the lower court’s decision. As a result, Hristov has obtained thousands of pages of documents disclosing the activities of and related to the killer of Markov, agent “Piccadilly” (Gullino). So it turns that far many documents are not destroyed. They also disclose the “hot” links between Bulgarian services and KGB on that case.



Summary of the AIP supported litigation against the denial of the National Intelligence Services to provide access to the requested documents.

More information about the investigation of the journalist Hristov and about his previous books.