Mystery of Bulgaria’s missing former security agency chief enters fifth day

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry still has no information about the whereabouts of Petko Sertov, the former head of the State Agency for National Security who went missing on December 5.

The ministry has asked for assistance in tracing the car in which Sertov was seen travelling, a 2009 Opel Astra with the licence plate CA 2987 PM. Anyone seeing the car is asked to call emergency number 112.

Sertov had drawn money at about 3pm on December 5 from an automatic teller machine near his home, close to Sofia’s National Palace of Culture, before departing in the Opel Astra. Previous reports that Sertov had left home in a Volkswagen Golf were incorrect, the ministry said.

Interpol has posted a missing persons notice for Sertov. However, Sofia police said that there was no information that he had left the country.

Interior Ministry chief secretary Svetozar Lazarov went to the Cabinet office on December 10, where ministers were holding a scheduled meeting, to give a briefing on the investigation into Sertov’s disappearance.

It has been confirmed that when Sertov left home, he left his two mobile phones behind.

The Interior Ministry has checked records of phone calls made by Sertov before he left home.

Lazarov said that he had no information whether the car Sertov was using had a GPS device.

A nationwide search for Sertov began after his wife contacted police on December 6 to say that he was missing.

According to police, Sertov liked to travel to remote places. The investigation into his disappearance includes the possibility that he had an accident. Lazarov said that it was believed that Sertov was travelling alone.

Bad weather in recent days has thwarted plans to search mountainous areas in southern Bulgaria.

Sertov headed the State Agency for National Security from its inception in 2008 until the summer of 2009. While at the agency, he appointed Alexei Petrov – a controversial figure currently facing serious organised crime charges, which Petrov denies – as an adviser at the agency.

In 2009, Sertov was appointed head of Borkor, the Cabinet office’s centre for prevention and combating of corruption and organised crime. Prime Minister Boiko Borissov released him from this post in March 2013.



The Sofia Globe staff

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