A Bulgarian court has refused a request from Moscow to extradite a prominent opponent of President Vladimir Putin.
Nikolay Koblyakov, a businessman who holds dual Russian and French nationality, was accused by Moscow of being allegedly involved in a million euro fraud. He denies the charges.
But in an unusual twist, the prosecutor said his right to a fair trial may not be guaranteed because of his political activities against Putin.
“I am really, really grateful and I hope that I will bring a lot to Bulgaria from what I can do, from my social care institutions,” said Koblyakov after the court’s decision.
“Once more, it was for me a sort of example of a justice European, of real European principals and right now we can see that yes Bulgaria is a part of Europe,” he continued.
Bulgaria has strong historical ties to Russia. It now says it is a reliable EU and NATO member and has supported sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.