Suspect admits to Bulgarian journalist attack, prosecutors say

BERLIN — A 21-year-old suspect arrested in the slaying of a Bulgarian television journalist has confessed to the attack but denies raping and robbing her, German prosecutors said Friday.

Severin Krassimirov, a Bulgarian citizen, was apprehended Tuesday evening outside the city of Hamburg on a European arrest warrant in connection with the death of Viktoria Marinova.

Marinova’s body was found Saturday near the Danube River in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse. She had been raped and strangled.

Prosecutors in the city of Celle, who are handling the case in Germany, said the suspect confessed to them during his interrogation that he had attacked the reporter in a park while he was under the “strong influence of alcohol and drugs.”

They said he told them that he had gotten into an argument with a woman he did not know, hit her in the face and threw her into bushes.

“He denied intending to kill her and also denies raping and robbing the woman,” Celle prosecutors said.

Marinova hosted a show last month featuring two investigative journalists who were detained for their work on suspected fraud involving European Union funds. While Marinova didn’t appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic, and there was widespread speculation that she may have been targeted for her work as a reporter.

Prosecutors said in their statement, however, that based upon their questioning of the suspect, “a political background (to the crime) cannot be drawn from his confession.”

Celle prosecutors also approved his extradition to Bulgaria, which they say will take place within the next 10 days.