Trial of Bulgarian money laundering convict begins in Italy
An Italian court was scheduled to hold its first hearing on March 8 in the lawsuit against Evelin “Brendo” Banev on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Last month, Sofia City Court sentenced Banev to seven and a half years in jail for laundering money from illegal drug deals.
Banev also made headlines in Bulgaria earlier this week when his 10-year-old daughter was kidnapped by three masked men as she was about to leave for school, shooting her driver.
One of the possible reasons for the kidnapping was to prevent Banev from testifying in court, Bulgaria’s prosecutor-general Sotir Tsatsarov has said. Investigators were working intensively on the case, he said.
Investigators were not excluding the possibility that the kidnapping was motivated by ransom, but there were no reports of ransom demands being put forth.
The girl’s mother, Monika Dobrinova, spoke to public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television on March 7, sending an appeal to the kidnappers asking them to get in touch with her and let her know whether her daughter was unharmed.
She said that she did not expect the police to help find her daughter and asked the kidnappers to contact her directly.
The girl’s driver, who was shot twice during the kidnapping, told police that the girl had not been injured in the kidnapping. Police roadblocks were set up at all exits from Sofia and cars were being searched, but these measures yielded no immediate results.
Banev was sentenced on February 15 2013 to seven years and six months in jail and fined 30 000 leva (about 15 000 euro) for laundering close to two million euro earned through trafficking illegal drugs. Also convicted were his former wife Dobrinova, her sister Desislava Dishlieva and his step-brother Simo Karaychev. Banev was ordered to pay the state 21 million leva.
(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)