£26m Ecclestone and Lampard burglaries suspect charged in Serbia

A man accused of being involved in one of the biggest burglaries in English history has been charged in Serbia.

According to Serbian court documents, Ljubomir Romanov invested money via “criminal activities” in the UK into luxury cars, real estate in Belgrade and other items to the value of €2.4m (£2m).

It is understood the alleged money laundering offences are linked to the raids on the homes of three celebrities in December 2019 where £26m of valuables were taken.

The largest came at the home of socialite and former model Tamara Ecclestone, where £25m worth of jewellery, cash and other items were stolen.

Other homes burgled included one belonging to the former Chelsea and England footballer Frank Lampard, and the now-deceased former owner of Leicester City, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha.

Most of the stolen jewellery and valuable watches have never been recovered.

Eight other defendants were named in Wednesday’s indictment.

Ecclestone offers £6m reward for return of jewels

In November 2022, three Italians – Jugoslav Jovanovic, Alessandro Maltese and Alessandro Donati – were jailed for 28 years in total after pleading guilty to conspiracy to burgle.

Isleworth Crown Court heard the gang targeted Ms Ecclestone’s palatial London home on one of the most expensive streets in the world opposite Kensington Palace, which the Formula 1 heiress shares with her husband Jay Rutland.

The couple had left for a Christmas holiday in Lapland hours earlier.

Many of the rooms inside the mansion were cleared of valuables. In just over an hour, the burglars made off with 400 items of jewellery and large sums of cash.

After the convictions an international hunt was launched by the Metropolitan Police for a fourth suspect known to the force as Daniel Vukovic.

A BBC investigation found authorities in Italy, Serbia and the UK had linked him to other alleged burglaries across Europe.

He is believed to have used at least 19 identities – including Ljubomir Romanov, which is the name the Serbian Public Prosecutor’s Office for Organised Crime have charged him under following his arrest in December 2023 in Belgrade.

The other defendants on the indictment are Milka Radosavljevic, Entoni Radosavljevic, Irena Radosavljevic, Laura Radosavljevic, Mirka Nikolic, Biljana Radosavljevic, Robert Konovalov, and Kristijan Jovanovic.

They are all charged with conspiring to commit criminal acts, money laundering and coercing into verifying false content, the prosecutor’s office said.

A statement said Mr Romanov and Mr Konovalov – whose offences are linked to Switzerland – purchased “large quantities of luxury real estate” as well as “large quantities of luxury vehicles or other movables”.

Prosecutors added the defendants invested “illegal money into legal cash flows in the amount of at least €2,422,255”.

Following their arrests, officials blocked the accounts, the use of real estate and seized luxury cars, prosecutors said.

There is no indication at this stage that UK authorities have renewed their extradition request.

An extradition treaty agreement signed by Serbia and the UK in December 1900 says each country can deny extradition of its own citizens.

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