Drug Trafficking Verdict: 16 Years' Jail, BGN 220 000 Fine

Crime | February 2, 2010, Tuesday // 17:46|  views

Serbian drug-trafficker Budimir Kujovic has been found guilty as charged, sentenced to 16 years in jail, and fined BGN 200 000. Photo by BGNES

The trial of Budimir Kujovic has ended, with the Bulgarian Supreme Court confirming his conviction for drug-trafficking. Kujovic has been jailed for 16 years, and has to pay a fine of BGN 200 000, it has been decreed on Tuesday.

The verdict is the same as the one handed down by Haskovo Regional Court in July 2008.

Kuyovic had since contested his original sentence with a series of arguments, including allegations of procedural violations.

The Serbian had protested that he was not provided with relevant translation services; the prosecution maintained he was able to understand Bulgarian.

There was confusion over establishing Jukovic’s identity; and he complained about his treatment in jail.

The Supreme Court rejected all his arguments, but only after several postponements of proceedings.

Kujovic had become notorious in 2008, after it emerged that he had been issued a fake passport with the collusion of the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, a revelation that led to the separate investigation of former Minister Rumen Petkov. He was cleared of involvement in this case.

There were additional allegations of involvement with top ministry officials and politicians.

In October that year, Kuyovic had claimed before the Supreme Court of Appeal that, at a time he had business in Bulgaria, he had given money to former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov and the Interior Ministry Chief Secretary Valentin Petrov.

He had later given a telephone interview from his cell, alleging that he was "squeezed" by senior figures in the Interior Ministry and by a prosecutor in Plovdiv to come up with compromises against the former Chief Secretary, General Ilia Iliev, and General Vanyo Tanov, former Head of the Unit for Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP), and now Director of the Customs Agency.

Tags: drug trafficking, Budimir Kujovic, Rumen Petkov, Supreme Court, haskovo, jail sentence, macedonia


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