Italy’s supreme court of cassation in Rome ordered a retrial of Evelin “Brendo” Banev, who was found guilty on charges of drug trafficking at a trial concluded in July 2013 and later had the 20 years imprisonment sentence upheld by an appeals court in Milan, Bulgarian mass-circulation daily 24 Chassa reported on September 24.
The new trial would have to be held within a year, the report said. Nine other defendants in the same case, which included at least three Bulgarian nationals, had their sentences upheld by the high court, according to the newspaper.
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.
This is only one of several ongoing cases against Banev, who was previously sentenced by a Bulgarian court in February 2013 to seven and a half years in jail for laundering money from illegal drug deals and was ordered to reimburse the state 21 million leva in lost income.
Last year, the appeals court in Sofia ruled to overturn his sentence, as well as the sentences given to three of Banev’s co-defendants in that case, but the Bulgarian Supreme Court of Cassation later reversed the ruling in May 2015, ordering the appeals court to hear the case again.
Banev is also wanted in Romania to stand trial on drug trafficking charges after authorities in Bucharest issued an EU-wide arrest warrant against him.
In May, media reports in Bulgaria claimed that Banev’s whereabouts were unknown.
(Photo: Jason Morisson/sxc.hu)