Bulgarian Ex Deputy Min with Suspended Sentence for Car-Theft Ransom
The Sofia City Court has replaced the prison sentence of former Deputy Foreign Minister Feim Chaushev for being an intermediary in a car theft scheme with a suspended sentence.
Under a ruling issued by the Sofia City Court on Tuesday, Ivaylo Gekov, an accomplice in the scheme, also has his prison term replaced with a suspended sentence, according to reports of the Focus news agency.
The two were declared guilty of mediation of ransom collection for a stolen vehicle.
Tuesday's court ruling approved the claims of Chaushev and Gekov that the sentences handed by the court of first instance were disproportionately severe.
The Sofia City Court argues that the Sofia Regional Court failed to give due consideration to a number of facts in Chaushev's case, including the lack of a criminal record, his advanced age, the good characteristics, the explanations he provided in connection with the indictment, which contributed to the disclosure of the truth, and the regrets he expressed.
Under Tuesday's ruling of the Sofia City Court, Chaushev's penalty is reduced from a 3.6-year prison term to a suspended sentence of 2.6 years with a five-year probationary period.
Citing more or less the same reasons (lack of criminal record, family status, etc.), the Sofia City Court rules that Gekov is to serve a 3-year suspended sentence with a five-year probationary period.
Chaushev and Gekov were detained in March 2011.
The two were charged with participating in a scheme for returning a stolen BMW to its owner, a Turkish citizen, against ransom.
The vehicle, which had been stolen on February 19, 2011, in front of a Sofia-based hotel, had a price tag of about EUR 100 000.
The owner of the car told the police he had contacted Chaushev to ask him for help.
Several days later, Chaushev had called him back, telling him that he could have his car back if he paid EUR 23 000 to the thieves.
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