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News 15 Jul 16

Bulgarian Court Blocks Alleged Fraudster's Extradition

A Bulgarian court has blocked the extradition of Nedko Nedev, wanted in the US for market manipulation and insider trading, on the grounds that he has schizophrenia.

Mariya Cheresheva
BIRN
Sofia
Photo: Robert Schmalle/Twitter

The Sofia City Court on Friday ruled that Nedko Nedev, charged in the US with fraud, cannot be extradited.

It said psychological expertise, carried out over the last month, showed that Nedev, 38, has signs of schizophrenia.

“He cannot be held responsible for his deeds and cannot take part in court trials,” a spokesperson of the Sofia City Court told BIRN.

She said the court cannot order the extraditiion of someone who could not be held accountable for their actions in a Bulgarian court, because of their mental problems.

Nedev was arrested in Bulgaria in May over the so-called “Avon Hoax”. The US Commission of Financial Securities, SEC filed a complaint against him in 2015.

US prosecutors say Nedev, who has dual Bulgarian-US citizenship, launched fake takeover bids to drive up the share prices of the cosmetic company Avon and of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.

He is also accused of insider trading over an offer by a Bulgarian insurer, Euroins, to acquire the US-based company Tower Group.

He has been charged with six accounts of fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years, and two other charges of aggravated identity theft, which carry a mandatory sentence of two years each.

Since his arrest, Nedev has been in detention in Bulgaria.

The court delayed a decision on his extradition to the US on May 20, when his lawyer, Momchil Manev, demanded that his client undergo a psychological test.

The decision of the court can be appealed at a higher instance.

Meanwhile, the Bulgarian prosecution will have to decide whether Nedev may be released from arrest and moved to a mental care institution.

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