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Missing football club chief freed, wife taken hostage

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 Jul 2008

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The missing president of Bulgaria's Litex Lovech football club, Angel Bonchev, was freed on Friday but his his wife was taken hostage by his kidnappers while paying part of his ransom, the interior ministry said.

Bonchev, 47, who disappeared on May 22 while parking his car, was found “in a helpless condition and with no identity documents” in a Sofia neighbourhood and hospitalised “with grave mental disorder,” the ministry said in a statement.

Interior Minister Mihail Mikov also told the national television late Friday that Bonchev's wife was taken hostage while trying to free him.

“His wife was captured while delivering money to his kidnappers,” Mikov said.

Police have so far refused to confirm reports that Bonchev was kidnapped.

They also did not specify Friday if the kidnappers had now demanded a ransom for his wife.

But the national television reported that they wanted 3 million leva (1.5 million euros) to free him and were now requesting 2 million leva (one million euros) for his wife.

Bonchev, who is also a former wrestling international and motorcycling federation chief, did not have any obvious signs of torture when he was taken to hospital late Friday, doctors said.

But they feared he might have suffered a brain haemorrage.

Bonchev's team Litex Lovech won the Bulgarian Cup in May and finished fourth in the league this season.

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