On September 7, 1978, an anti-Communist activist Georgi Markov was walking across the Waterloo Bridge in London to wait for a bus to work at the BBC. Markov was in exile from his native Bulgaria and had been agitating for an end to Communism since he was first banished in 1969. As he was waiting for the bus, he felt a sharp pain in his leg but since it was crowded didn’t think too much of it. Shortly later, however, he fell mortally ill. The pain proved to be from a small pellet made of ricin that had been injected into his thigh by specially designed umbrella. Three days later, Markov was dead.
In 2005, a Bulgarian journalist, Hristo Hristov, was looking into this case and found in the state archives in Sofia that only one agent was active in London at the time of Markov’s assassination. Hristov named an Italian-Dane, Francesco Gullino, who had been recruited by the Bulgarian Communist regime and had gained renown as one of the most prolific Soviet-era assassins. Gullino’s location today is unknown.