CEPACA Chair:Bulgaria Must Lower Illegal Assets Confiscation Threshold
Plamen Georgiev, Chair of Bulgaria's Commission for Establishing Property Acquired from Criminal Activity (CEPACA), has called for amendments to the asset confiscation law.
In a Sunday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), Georgiev suggested that the discrepancy of BGN 250 000 between declared income and property acquisitions had to be reduced to BGN 120 000 in order to boost the efficiency of CEPACA.
He noted that the European Commission had also emphasized the need to lower the threshold from the rate of BGN 250 000, adding that the bar had been set too high not only for Bulgarian standards but also on an EU scale.
Georgiev explained that the new threshold had been arrived at through analyses of average annual expenses of an average Bulgarian family and the average sum confiscated by the Commission since its establishment.
He suggested that a reduction of the threshold from BGN 250 000 to BGN 120 000 would guarantee a much more efficient application of the law.
"It is important for us to set a reasonable limit. Unless the threshold is reduced, we risk missing key cases," he declared, adding that the cap was not to be set too low either, which would result in CEPACA being snowed under with minor cases.
He went on to say that the European Commission had stated in its report that CEPACA was among the state authorities which had registered slight progress, taking into account a series of obstructions to its activity.
Georgiev said that the EC had acknowledged drawbacks such as the flaws in the asset confiscation law, and the request with the Supreme Court of cassation (VKS) for an interpretive ruling, which had blocked as many as 69 cases worth over BGN 50 M.
He reminded that VKS had been asked to outline the scope of assets subject to confiscation, i.e. whether the authorities were to seize the entire amount of unexplained wealth or just the assets which had been obtained through a concrete illegal activity.
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