BNB Demands 10-Year Sentence for Spreading False Bank Information
Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) proposes amendments to the Penal Code envisaging imprisonment for those disseminating misleading information about banks.
The institution has tabled its proposal containing suggested legal changes to Parliament's Budget and Finance Committee headed by liberal lawmaker Yordan Tsonev (DPS), the bank said in a message to the media.
BNB believes an Article 252 should be created in the Penal Code's Crimes against the Monetary and Credit System section saying those who "disseminate misleading or untrue information on a bank or a financial institution that could create panic among the population, shall be punished with five to ten years of imprisonment".
A fine varying from BGN 5000 to BGN 10 000 should also be imposed, the bank believes.
It also demands that the same sentence be applied to those causing "significant damage" or having received "significant illegal revenues" with aforementioned activities.
The proposal comes after rumors forced a number of people into withdrawing their money from Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank (KTB) and, more recently, First Investment Bank.
This caused KTB to ask that BNB place it under special supervision.
At FIBank, some BGN 800 M (EUR 400 M) were withdrawn just in hours after customers received anonymous text messages in which they were advised to do so.
BNB's demand is in line with discussions at the Presidency Sunday when the banking system and measures to tackle infringements on its stability were among the main issues discussed, alongside early elections.
Central bank Governor Ivan Iskrov was among those invited to the consultations.
Bulgarian Interior Ministry and the State Agency for National Security (DANS) launched Friday a probe into attempts to destabilize the banking system.
DANS later detained three over alleged involvement in the informational attack on First Investment Bank.
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