Gangster’s lions and bears taken

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Four lions and two bears were yesterday removed from the estate of Romanian gangster Ion Balint, who reportedly used them to threaten his victims.

Police allege that Balint and his brother Vasile headed a criminal network which controlled much of the underworld activity in Romanian capital Bucharest. Some 400 police and detectives were involved in the investigation which led to the arrest last week of 67 suspects, including the Balint brothers.

In 2009, Balint was convicted of human trafficking, violence and pimping, and sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was ­released after a year.