National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)
National Director of Public Prosecutions Advocate Shamila Batohi. Picture: Bongani Shilubane/African News Agency (ANA)

Batohi obtains court order seizing millions in cash from R583m cocaine bust kingpin

By Loyiso Sidimba Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

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Johannesburg - Bulgarian drug trafficker Asen Georgiev Ivanov has forfeited millions in cash, vehicles and the vessel he and his crew used to transport R583 million worth of cocaine to South Africa, to the State.

Ivanov, whose alias is “Alex Novak”, is in jail after being convicted and sentenced in May by the Vredenburg Magistrate’s Court to 25 years imprisonment for drug dealing.

Part of his sentence – 12 years – was suspended for five years on condition that he is not convicted for dealing in drugs.

He was also sentenced to a year in prison for illegally entering South Africa, which will run concurrently with the sentence handed down for drug dealing.

In a notice published in the Government Gazette, National Director of Public Prosecutions Shamila Batohi applied for and obtained a preservation order on the assets seized from the property.

The drug bust has been described as South Africa’s second largest and Ivanov was jailed with Mario Radoslavov Vasev and Atanas Mihaylov Bikov.

Ivanov will forfeit $1 125 630 (about R17.6m) and €4 300 (over R88 400) seized in March.

According to the notice, the order was granted by Western Cape High Court Judge Monde Samela on June 29 in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

In addition to the millions in cash, the vessel, Lukzet, a Hyundai Sonata and a Hyundai Elantra may also be forfeited to the State as they are proceeds of crime.

”If you have an interest in the property, you should understand that it is now at risk. You are advised to obtain legal advice on whether your interest can be protected and, if so, on how to protect it,” reads the notice.

Interested parties were informed that Batohi will, within 90 days from last Friday, apply to the high court in terms of the act for a final forfeiture order. The preservation order will remain in force until the application for a forfeiture order is finalised and until any forfeiture order that is made is satisfied.

”If you intend to oppose the application for a forfeiture order, or you intend to apply for an order excluding your interest from a forfeiture order in respect of the property, you must enter an appearance in terms of the order,” it reads.

This is not the first time Ivanov has been slapped with a preservation order.

In 2017, the National Prosecuting Authority seized over R2.6m in cash from a property he occupied in Durbanville, Cape Town, after police established that mandrax was being manufactured at an estate complex.

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Political Bureau

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