A San Gwann man of Bulgarian origin was yesterday charged with credit card fraud following what a police inspector described as one in a series of similar arrests carried out in several European countries.

Zdravko Svilenov Milouchev, 34, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, forgery and making malicious use of forged bank documents when he made use of counterfeit credit cards on and before Wednesday.

Magistrate Silvio Meli heard Police Inspectors Ian Joseph Abdilla and Nadia Lanzon, prosecuting, explain how the police had been investigating the case with the help of Bulgarian police and there had been several similar arrests across Europe.

They added that the Maltese police had recently arrested two men on arrival in Malta in connection with the same type of crime and investigations were still ongoing.

Magistrate Meli then moved on to hear submissions on bail. Inspector Abdilla objected to the request on the grounds that it was feared that Mr Milouchev, who has relatives in Bulgaria, would abscond. During a search at Mr Milouchev's house the police had found over Lm1,300 and over €2,000, the inspector added.

Lawyer Franco Galea argued that his client was innocent until proven otherwise and that Mr Milouchev had been in Malta for 10 years and was married to a Maltese woman which meant his ties to Malta were strong.

Mr Milouchev was denied bail and Magistrate Meli ordered that his financial assets be frozen following a request by the police.

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