Bulgarian 'Kingpin's' Daughter Abducted to 'Keep Him Silent'
Lara Baneva, the abducted daughter of alleged Bulgarian drug lord Evelin Banev AKA Brendo, is alive and kidnappers are hiding her in the capital Sofia.
The news was reported Thursday by Standard daily, citing insider sources from the investigation.
According to these sources, the mother Monika Dobrinova, has been already notified by the perpetrators the girl is doing fine. No one, however, has asked ransom and it remains unknown if there have been any other demands.
According to 24 Chassa (24 Hours) daily, if on Friday Brendo "behaves in the Milano courtroom as his business partners from Europe and South America are expecting from him," his abducted daughter could be back home as early as Saturday.
24 Hours also cites their own undisclosed sources saying Banev's silence before Italian magistrates is one of the main leads in the probe.
10-year-old Lara was abducted by masked gunmen at approximately 7:30 am on Tuesday in the affluent Sofia suburb of Boyana.
Her 36-year-old bodyguard was reportedly shot twice in the back.
The three masked gunmen who abducted the girl were allegedly driving a stolen BMW X5 vehicle.
Brendo was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison last month. He is being held in prison in Italy.
He was charged with heading an organized crime gang and money laundering.
His accomplices, Monika Dobrinova, Desislava Dishlieva and Simo Karaychev, received a 3-year suspended sentence with a five-year probation period.
Banev and the others are charged with launding over EUR 2 M using a personal account belonging to Konstantin Dishliev, owner of a firm called Private Finance Union, who was killed in 2005.
Dobrinova is Brendo's ex wife, while Dishlieva is Dishliev's widow.
Banev has been known as Bulgaria's "cocaine king." He was born on October 9 1964 in the Black Sea city of Burgas.
Banev was arrested on May 16 2012 in the Black Sea town of Sozopol in an international special police operation codenamed Cocaine Kings, along with 15 other Bulgarians, 12 Italians, one Slovenian, one Romanian, and one Georgian.
In the aftermath of Banev's 2012 arrest, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, stated that Banev had an Interpol arrest warrant in Switzerland on charges of trafficking 10 tons of cocaine from South America to Europe and of money laundering.