Evelin Banev

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Person.png Evelin Banev  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(drug smuggler)
Banev 2011.jpg
BornOctober 8, 1964
Burgas, Bulgaria
NationalityBulgarian, Turkish, Ukrainian
Criminal convictions
• drug trafficking
• money laundering
RelativesSimo Karaichev
Bulgarian "cocaine kingpin".

Evelin Banev, also known by his nickname "Brendo", is a Bulgarian drug smuggler.


Banev was born in Burgas, Bulgaria, in 1964. In the late 1980s, he participated in wrestling competitions representing the Bulgarian National Wrestling Team.[1]


In Bulgaria, Brendo was convicted of laundering money from the channels of bosses Atanas Genov and Ivaylo Hasselbert. Both organizations were disbanded in 2000 and 2005, when the bosses were serving sentences and drugs seized.[2]

In 2011, while Brendo was still at large, his deal for 51kg of cocaine with an undercover agent failed in Romania. The drugs were confiscated.[2]

In 2012, the Italian carabinieri carried out another action against cocaine trafficking in the period 2006-2008. Organizer and financier is Evelin Banev, for which he is accused of confessions and people from his gang – the Bulgarian Radoslav Atanasov and the Italian Antonio Melato. More than 800 kg of this canal have also been detained.[2]

In 2013, he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in jail in Bulgaria for masterminding an organised crime group laundering drug-dealing profits. But he fled Bulgaria and has since been the subject of an Interpol red notice.[3]

In late 2017, Banev was also sentenced in absentia to 20 years in jail in Italy for participation in a large-scale international scheme that trafficked as much as 40 tonnes of cocaine from Latin America to Europe between 2004 and 2007, supplying the 'Ndrangheta mafia.[3]

Ukrainian citizenship

In September 2021, after 5 years living in obscurity, Brendo was caught in Kiev, Ukraine. After his detention, requests were sent to local authorities from Romania, Bulgaria and Italy for the extradition of a prominent detainee. During the hearings, it was shown that he now was an Ukrainian citizen, and thus cannot be extradited and was released by the Court of Appeal.[2]

Brendo had also obtained a Turkish passport in addition to Ukrainian citizenship. Negotiations for Turkish citizenship have been conducted with people in senior positions in the republic. Brando’s half-brother Simo Karaichev took part in the scheme.[4]

Credit Suisse

In February 2022, Credit Suisse faced charges in a Swiss court for allowing a Bulgarian cocaine trafficking gang to launder millions of euros, some of it stuffed into suitcases. A former employee brought at least one Bulgarian customer who was an associate of Banev with her when she joined Credit Suisse in 2004, prosecutors alleged in the indictment. The customer, who was later shot dead as he left a restaurant with his wife in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2005, had begun placing suitcases full of cash in a safe deposit box at Credit Suisse, the indictment says. This was standard bank practice at the time the deposits were made.[5]

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