Italian appeals court sentences Bulgarian drug trafficker in retrial

An appeals court in Milan has ruled to uphold the 20-year sentence against Evelin “Brendo” Banev following a retrial, Bulgarian media reported on March 23. Banev, who was found guilty on charges of drug trafficking at a trial concluded in July 2013, had the sentence confirmed by the appeals court, but a high court ordered a retrial last year.

The appellate judges have 90 days to issue the motives for the ruling, at which point it can be appealed in the high court again, Bulgarian National Television said.

Italian prosecutors claim 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.

The appeals court in Sofia ruled in 2014 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.

(Photo: Jason Morisson/



The Sofia Globe staff

The Sofia Globe - the Sofia-based fully independent English-language news and features website, covering Bulgaria, the Balkans and the EU. Sign up to subscribe to's daily bulletin through the form on our homepage.