Bulgarian 'Cocaine King' Trial Starts in Italy

Crime | March 8, 2013, Friday // 08:48
Bulgarian 'Cocaine King' Trial Starts in Italy: Bulgarian 'Cocaine King' Trial Starts in Italy Evelin Banev AKA Brendo was arrested in Bulgaria on May 16 2012 on suspicions of cocaine trafficking and money laundering both in Bulgaria and Switzerland. Photo by BGNES

The trail against alleged Bulgarian "cocaine king" Evelin Banev AKA Brendo is starting in Italy on Friday.

He is indicted for being a member of an organized crime group dealing with cocaine trafficking from South America to Europe and laundering the money from it in Swiss banks.

Banev is being held in prison in Milan, Italy, where he was extradited after his arrest in Bulgaria last spring in a special police operation codenamed "Cocaine Kings," and is coming to Bulgaria only for the court sessions of the local trial against him.

Meanwhile, his 10-year-old Lara was abducted by masked gunmen at approximately 7:30 am on Tuesday in the affluent Sofia suburb of Boyana. A 36-year-old bodyguard was shot twice in the back.

According to 24 Chassa (24 Hours) daily, if Brendo "behaves in the Milan 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 of the abduction.

Chief Prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, says the authorities are working on the case intensively.

On Thursday, the girl's mother, Monika Dobrinova, publically begged the abductors to get in touch with her and tell her how Lara is doing, thus disproving earlier reports the perpetrators have called her already.

Dobrinova also said she did not trust the police to help her find her daughter.

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