A day before the 40th anniversary of the attempt on John Paul II’s life, Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turkish assassin who shot Pope John Paul II at Saint Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981, claimed that not everything has been revealed on the subject of the assassination. In an interview for the Italian agency Ansa, Agca explained that in the past, the Mitrokhin Commission (named after a KGB archivist) in the Italian parliament had uncovered a bit of truth. The assassin was referring to the commission that had been researching the activity of secret services of the former Eastern bloc in Italy at the time.
One of the people who made a statement before the commission was Judge Ferdinando Imposimato, a supporter of the “Bulgarian trail” theory. The theory indicated that members of the communist secret service from Sofia were involved in the Pope’s assassination attempt and that they were working on the USSR’s orders. Imposimato had earlier led an investigation concerning the incident itself.
The Mitrokhin Commission stated in its report that Bulgarian special services had operated on the orders of GRU, Soviet military intelligence, when hiring Agca. The idea of assassinating the Pope came from the USSR’s highest command.
Agca also referred to the statement of former KGB agent Victor Ivanovich Sheimov, who escaped to the U.S. in 1980. The agent had claimed that the KGB was behind the assassination.
Former Italian senator Paolo Guzzanti told Ansa that in the past, Agca had revealed everything about the assassination to the Italian judges who interrogated him, but he was later threatened by the Bulgarians. Between 2002–2006, Guzzanti was at the head of the Mitrokhin Commission. Guzzanti said that at the beginning of the interrogations, Agca presented a precise reconstruction of events and revealed that he had been hired by the Bulgarian secret service.
“Later on, however, two military judges arrived from Bulgaria who asked their Italian colleagues for a conversation with Agca in prison. After this conversation, Agca began to pretend he was insane and that he had seen Jesus and the Apocalypse. He had clearly been intimidated, and the account he had given to the Italian judges lost any legal value,” Guzzanti said.
He explained that the Mitrokhin Commission had interrogated all the judges involved in the case, but the judges claimed they couldn’t do any more. Guzzanti added that in two professional assessments of a photo, it was confirmed that Sergey Antonov, then an employee of the Bulgarian airline’s office in Rome, was present with Agca at Saint Peter’s square. Antonov was arrested on the charge of co-plotting the assassination but was later released by a court in Rome because it was ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove his guilt.
“It was exactly as Agca had said in the beginning. He told the whole story, how he was hired by the Bulgarians to carry out the assassination,” Guzzanti stated.
He noted that the former ambassador of Bulgaria confirmed, after the fall of communism, that a car had taken Agca’s accomplices to the Bulgarian embassy in Rome.
Guzzanti believes that all that is needed now is for Agca (who currently resides in Turkey) to repeat what he originally told the Italian judges when he gave all the details.