The State Remains Eyes Blind, Hands Tied on Tsar Kiro
Asked to comment on the immensely inexplicable wealth accumulated by notorious Roma clan leader Kiril Rashkov, aka Tsar Kiro, Todor Kolarov, head of Bulgaria's Commission for Establishing Property Acquired through Criminal Activity, said the unit's hands were tied.
To be more, precise, he cited the law as having tied the hands of the state authority.
In its current form, the Law on Divestment in Favor of the State of Property Acquired through Criminal Activity does not allow the said Commission to act before the prosecution has pressed charges against the defendant and the defendant has been convicted on a strictly defined set of counts.
In its current form, the Law does not allow the Commission to self-initiate proceedings on the basis of tip-offs from citizens.
In its prospective form, the amended Law would have introduced civil confiscation, thereby sidestepping the difficult and often protracted process of establishing a link between a convicted criminal and a particular asset.
Under the amended Law, a failure to account for grotesquely disproportionate assets could have resulted in asset forfeiture while the prosecution authorities are still at the investigative stage.
The amended Law (also known as the Popova Law, named after Justice Minister Margarita Popova, who initiated the draft bill), however, was voted down in Parliament in early July.
Even if it had been passed, Kolarov explained, Tsar Kiro would have still remained beyond the law because "counts like death threats, bootlegging and pickpocketing are not within the competence of the Commission".
The Commission consists of five members, including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.
Three of the five members, including the Deputy Chairperson, are appointed by Parliament, the same Parliament that voted down civil confiscation in early July and still the same Parliament that is unwilling to allow self-initiated proceedings to the Commission.
The Parliament created the Commission and then tied its altogether short hands through the laws it passed or refused to pass.
Tsar Kiro, an illustration of glaring yet uncertified crime, will obviously not have his assets seized by the state.
He boasts a track record of crimes including pickpocketing, bootlegging, drug trafficking, illegal takeover of municipal land and staging bomb attacks, all of which have gone unpunished for decades by the police, the tax , customs and court authorities.
The official reasons are expired statutes of limitations, cases closed over insufficient evidence, cases got stuck between prosecution and court and were eventually...closed, the defendant's health 'substantially deteriorated", etc.
The unofficial reasons are that Tsar Kiro provides those in power with the much-needed Roma votes, all the while catering to the peace and order in the local Roma communities.
When those in power buy comfort, it is largely to the discomfort of those who elected them to power.
What if they don't get re-elected to power?
How long can Tsar Kiro stay behind bars?