Bulgarian money laundering convict handed 20-year sentence in Italy

An Italian court found Evelin “Brendo” Banev guilty on charges of drug trafficking, sentencing him to 20 years imprisonment, Bulgarian media reported on July 9.

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

Five other Bulgarian nationals who were on trial alongside Banev received jail sentences ranging from seven years and two months to 15 years, Bulgarian channel bTV reported. Eight other people, including six Italians, one Slovenian national and one Romanian, were also sentenced, according to the report.

Banev was previously sentenced by a Bulgarian court in February to seven and a half years in jail for laundering money from illegal drug deals. He was ordered to reimburse the state 21 million leva in lost income.

Romanian authorities too have asked for his extradition so that he can stand trial on drug trafficking charges. The request was denied last month by the Sofia City Court because Banev was unable to attend the proceedings due to the Italian trial against him.

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 court cases involving Banev in Bulgaria and in Italy.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)



The Sofia Globe staff

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