Bulgarian Anti-mafia Unit: Kingpin's Daughter Abducted for His Silence
Sources from Bulgaria's Main Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime, GDBOP, have confirmed off-the-record that the recent kidnapping of the daughter of alleged Bulgarian drug lord Evelin Banev AKA Brendo was done to keep him tight-lipped in Court.
The sources, cited by the Bulgarian Standard daily, say the abduction aimed at alerting Brendo the girl will be safe until he maintains silence and does not reveal the names of kingpins higher-up than him from Colombian and Italian drug cartels. They have noted this was the main lead of the Italian investigation as well.
At the beginning of March, 10-year-old Lara, daughter of Bulgarian "cocaine king" Evelin Banev, was abducted by masked gunmen in the affluent Sofia suburb of Boyana. A 36-year-old bodyguard was shot twice in the back. Her whereabouts remain unknown.
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.
According to various reports, the abduction was a warning for him to keep silent in the Milan Court. Lara's whereabouts remain unknown.
Standard further comments Monday that the Italian prosecutors have interest to pressure Brendo because Rome stands to receive about EUR 150 M if they succeed in securing an effective jail sentence.
This is half of the amount Brendo and criminals connected to him reportedly have in accounts in Swiss banks.
According to an agreement between Italy and Switzerland, Rome can request half of the sum of EUR 300 M if prosecutors prove the money has been illegally acquired.
Notorious Bulgarian "businessman" and former employee of the State Agency for National Security, DANS, Aleksei Petrov, has been insisting ever since the abduction that Senior State officials were involved in it, even reaching as far as naming former Interior Minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov and former Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
Petrov is tried on numerous counts for organized crime.
He was arrested in February 2010 in a much-publicized special operation by Bulgaria's police, codenamed Octopus.
Borisov and Tsvetanov did much to portray Petrov as the mastermind of an extensive organized crime network.
The trial against Petrov has however dragged for months with little progress, and with the prosecution forced to drop part of the charges against him.
On December 21, 2012, Aleksei Petrov was released on a bail of BGN 10 000.
The Sofia Court of Appeals took that decision a week after Sofia City Court released the alleged gang leader from detention to house arrest, citing Petrov's deteriorating health condition.
The court also decided that the prosecution's claim that if Petrov is released from arrest, he would influence witnesses lacks substantiation.
In the early 1990s, Petrov was a business partner of Borisov.
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