Sofia court ends extradition proceedings against money-laundering convict

Sofia City Court ended on June 26 proceedings in a case requesting the extradition of Evelin “Brendo” Banev to Romania to stand trial on drug trafficking charges.

The court said that it could not rule on the request because Banev was unable to attend the proceedings, but also because the Romanian authorities did not answer queries concerning the court costs and how would Banev be transported to Bulgaria.

Banev is currently in Italy, where he is on trial on charges of drug trafficking and money laundering. Italian prosecutors asked, at a court hearing in May, that Banev is sentenced to 20 years in jail for his part in the trafficking of cocaine from South America to Italy.

Italian prosecutors claim that Banev and his accomplices were responsible for the trafficking of six tonnes of cocaine to Italy between 2006 and 2008.

In February, Sofia City Court sentenced Banev to seven and a half years in jail for laundering money from illegal drug deals. Banev also was ordered to reimburse the state 21 million leva in lost income.

A Bucharest court issued an European arrest warrant in Banev’s name in February, news agency Focus reported. The Sofia court said that Romanian authorities can ask for Banev’s extradition again once he is on Bulgarian soil again, but its ruling to the current extradition proceedings cannot be appealed.

Banev also made headlines in Bulgaria in March when his 10-year-old daughter was kidnapped by three masked men as she was about to leave for school, shooting her driver. She was returned to her mother on April 21 2013, 47 days after being kidnapped.

Widespread reports in Bulgarian media linked the kidnapping to the continuing court cases involving Banev in Bulgaria and in Italy.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/



The Sofia Globe staff

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