Bulgaria’s Prosecutor General appealed to the Council of Europe regarding the NEXO Case
The Prosecutor General Ivan Geshev sent letters to the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe, the European Committee on Crime Problems, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola about difficulties encountered with the application of the European Convention on the extradition of Bulgarian citizens from Republic of Serbia. This was announced by the prosecutor's office.
The letters are regarding actions related to the "Nexo" investigation. The Prosecutor's Office is conducting an investigation into extremely serious cross-border criminal offenses related to an organized criminal group for money laundering, tax crimes and computer fraud, and damages caused in different countries.
The group operated from the beginning of 2018 until January 12 this year in Bulgaria, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands. So far, in the course of the investigation, evidence has been collected, from which it is established that a number of transactions were carried out with the aim of avoiding the sanctions regime imposed on the Russian Federation.
In the pre-trial proceedings, four were brought as defendants, among them Kosta Kanchev and Antoni Trenchev - founders of Nexo.
On April 4, the prosecutor's office was notified that the two persons were declared internationally wanted in the Schengen information system, and also through the channel of the International Criminal Police Organization - Interpol.
Three days later, information was received from the Interpol national office in Belgrade that the two defendants had arrived on April 6 at 23:05 p.m. at Belgrade airport on a flight from Dubai. On the same day, on the basis of the European Convention on Extradition, translations into Serbian of the requests for the declaration of international wanted and temporary detention of the accused were sent urgently through Interpol and to the Serbian authorities. Already on April 7, a message was received by fax from the General Secretariat of Interpol that the documents had been received.
The letter of Ivan Geshev states that Serbia has not fulfilled its obligation under the European Convention on Extradition and has not taken immediate action to temporarily detain the wanted persons and to immediately notify Bulgaria of the result of the requests sent to the Serbian authorities. Thus, the wanted persons are allowed to avoid criminal responsibility in Bulgaria.
The case is unprecedented, so far such a case of non-fulfillment of an international treaty in the field of criminal law has not been established in our practice, Geshev's letter says.
In it, the prosecutor general makes a request to urgently initiate the procedure of resolving the difficulties arising in the application of the European Convention on Extradition in the spirit of friendship.
"The Republic of Serbia has opened the door for those accused of serious cross-border criminal offenses to escape justice", said the spokeswoman of the prosecutor general Siika Mileva.
"Under the convention, the parties have a commitment to ensure efficient and speedy action on extradition procedures. In addition, by signing the document, the parties undertake to improve legal cooperation among themselves in criminal matters," said Mileva.
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