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Parliament passes at second reading the Bill on Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets

The parliament has passed the Bill on Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets. The bill was discussed in the course of 5 plenary sittings. The Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and his Deputy Tsvetan Tsvetanov came to the plenary hall for the discussions of the final texts.

The members of parliament approved the group of crimes under which, in the existence of pending criminal charges, a probe of the accused person for illegally acquired assets can be started. A probe could also be started against a person who is not subject of criminal charges after an investigation was carried out and was not transformed in a criminal case or when the criminal proceedings were terminated. The law envisions a probe to be carried out in cases of terminated criminal proceedings due to the death of the accused. A probe is to be carried out also against a person who has been subject to criminal proceedings later terminated, due to temporary mental disorder, immunity or unknown address of the person and the impossibility to be found.

The law stipulates that the chairerson, the deputy chairperson and the members of the Commission for Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets should declare their assets, incomes and expenditures received and spent in the country and abroad. The law is to take effect in six months after its promulgation in the State Gazette.

Two months after the Law on Forfeiture of Illegally Acquired Assets enters into force the National Assembly will elect and the President and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria will appoint the members of the above commission. The terms of office of the current “Commission for Establishing of Property Acquired from Criminal Activity” shall expire at the moment of the appointment of the members of the commission under this law. The parliament has decided to discontinue the current Law for Forfeiture of Property Acquired from Criminal Activity.
The parliament has decided that the amount of BGN 250 000 for the whole period covered by the probe between the net income of the person and the assets owned should be considered a considerable disparity. Control of legal entity is present when the natural person owns more than 50 % of its shares or capital and exercises direct or indirect control of it. According to this law for family members are considered the lawful or putative husband/wife and the under-age children. The probe will cover also all direct relatives of the checked person as well as the lateral ones up to 4th degree.

The law envisions the establishment of a Council for management of the forfeited assets, consisting of members of different state bodies and institutions. The Council will propose to the Council of Ministers how to manage the forfeited assets. The selling of assets will be executed by the National Revenue Agency in conformity with the rules of the Tax Insurance Procedure Code. The Council will consist of deputy ministers and will be presided over by the deputy finance minister.

The parliament decided that each person who suffered damages as a result of unlawful actions on the part of the Commission in the course of the probe will have the right to civil action against the state under the Law on the Liability Incurred by the State and the Municipalities for Damages Inflicted on Citizens.

The Commission under this law will have a Register of the assets checked and seized. The register will contain data regarding the name of the person subjected to a probe by the commission, the assets garnished in the procedure, the owner of the assets, their holder and keeper. The Register will contain other data deemed necessary to personalize the assets. 

The parliament approved the possibility of a bargain settlement between the commission and the person of up to 75 % of the seized illegal assets or their monetary equivalent. The Commission will render its demand for seizure of the illegal assets before the Regional court where the permanent address of the assets’ owner is, not later than 3 months after the imposition of the injunction over the illegal assets.

The extinctive prescription of the rights of the state under this law is 15 years.
Illegally acquired assets, subject of transactions could also be seized in cases when the persons to whom the assets were transferred have known or could have known that they were illegally acquired by the assignor.

At the end of the plenary sitting the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has thanked the deputies, in particular those from the Blue Coalition, the Law, Order and Justice and the Independents for their vote in favor of the bill. 


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