The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Initiated Consultations with the US Government on Zhelyaz Andreev
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken urgent action to clarify all the circumstances surrounding the case of Bulgarian citizen Zhelyaz Andreev.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Minister Yuri Sterk, invited Ambassador to Bulgaria, Eric Rubin, and Bulgarian Ambassador to Washington, Tihomir Stoichev, urged to be accepted by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer clarifying the demands of the American side.
Extradition of Bulgarian citizens to the United States is governed by the Extradition Act and the European Arrest Warrant and by the Extradition Treaty between the Governments of the Republic of Bulgaria and the United States, ratified on 23 April 2008, which entered into force on 21 May 2009.
Pursuant to Art. Article 20 (1) of the Treaty MFA will request consultations between the US Department of Justice and the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria.
The specific request for extradition of Mr. Zhelyaz Andreev has entered the Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation under international police cooperation. The MFA recalls that the extradition decision falls within the jurisdiction of the judiciary.
Twenty-nine-year-old Zhelyaz Andreev was detained this morning by the police in his hometown of Dobrich at the request of the Miami Prosecutor's Office. This was learned by Dnevnik from Andreev's friend Milena Zdravkova.
Dnevnik's attempts to contact the Dobrich district prosecutor Plamen Nikolov or the city police have been unsuccessful.
Andreev's arrest is in connection with an investigation by the authorities in Florida against 11 people on charges of violating the embargo on trade with Syria. Five of them - Zhelyaz Andreev, Mihaela Nenova, Lyubka Hristova, Iskren Georgiev and Ivan Sergiev are Bulgarians.
All Bulgarians have worked at a call center in Sofia, where they sold parts for Syrian aircraft airplanes that the US authorities claim to be related to terrorist activity. The case became known in March 2017 when the Miami Prosecutor's Office detained the Ali and Arash Kabi brothers and their sister Marjan.
According to the investigation, Arash Kabi, who has two passports, Iranian and French, has ruled AW Tronics, a Miami-registered company for electronics, aviation and oil production.
At the end of 2010, they founded "Arrotronix" in Sofia, which was later renamed to AB Tronix, which the investigators call a "Sofia office" of a Florida company.
In the spring of 2013, the US authorities blocked Syrian Air's assets and banned trading. According to the US, with the help of the Lebanese Hezbollah terrorist group, the Syrian air carrier delivers weapons to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard of Iran in Syria.
According to investigators from September 2013 to March 2014, the defendants violated the embargo by supplying spare parts for US airplanes to Syrian Air. For this purpose, the goods were shipped from the USA to Sofia and Dubai, and then re-exported to Syria.
On March 5, 2014, one of the consignments was suspended by the US customs authorities, who intercepts an e-mail exchange between the owners of AB Tronix and the managers of the Sofia office of the company. Marjan Kabi says that "nothing will be delivered to clients in the Middle East from the US office, we have to send to Bulgaria and then to customers from countries like Israel, Iraq, UAE, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Kuwait, etc. Our shipments have been stopped by customs and border control, and we have other cases with the same customer. " This is a total of seven deliveries for Airbus and French ATR aircraft.
According to investigators at the end of 2014, Arash Kabi and his sister, as well as Mihaela Nenova, the manager of the Sofia office, together with another manager, Ivan Sergiev, commit another crime, by filling out false declarations, they are able to supply to China air equipment used for military aircraft, although the US has imposed a ban on exports to this destination of such a part.
In December 2017, the brothers Kabi and their sister were found guilty and sentenced to 2 years for the Kabi brothers and 13 months for their sister. The arrest of Zhelyaz Andreev in fact confirms that the investigation against the remaining eight people continues.
In 2017, Zhelyaz Andreev, of five Bulgarians, was the only regular employee of the call center, told Capital that the Syrian airline had been developed as a client before joining the company, and specified that because of his position in the company he did not have the opportunity to either select his clients or check them.
He started contacting them at the very beginning of his work at the firm while he was on trial period at the firm. According to Andreev this is also confirmed by the fact that he is not among the addressees of the e-mail sent by Kabi to the managers in the Bulgarian office. He states that parts to countries in the Middle East should not be sent by the US office because they are kept by the customs but must go through the office in Sofia. "We worked under constant stress to reach targets, especially during the trial period - we were just supposed to make calls and send emails to get as many orders as possible," he says in 2017, stating that has not received any bonuses from these deals.
After his arrest, Jelez Andreev will be detained for up to 72 hours, and then the prosecution will have to ask the court for his arrest for 40 days until the extradition case begins on the merits.
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