Tsatsarov Opposes Plans to Allow Prosecutors to Block Commercial Deals
Any changes to Bulgaria's Code of Civil Procedure that would enable prosecutors to intervene in commercial deals are extremely dangerous, according to the country's Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov.
No matter how noble the motives behind such changes could be, granting unrestricted powers to prosecutors to suspend commercial deals could invite disaster, Tsatsarov said in parliament on Monday.
His comments referred to last week’s proposal by GERB party, the dominant power in the minority government coalition, to change the Code of Criminal Procedure in such a way that will enable the chief prosecutor or a deputy to suspend commercial deals for up to 48 hours after those deals had been concluded to prevent a potential criminal offence.
GERB later withdrew the proposed changes but indicated it would try to have them adopted through changes to the Code of Civil Proceedings.
According to Tsatsarov, this attempt smacked of political populism and is extremely unacceptable.
Tsatsarov’s comments echoed the opinion of Justice Minister Hristo Ivanov, who said earlier on Monday that prosecutors should not be granted extra powers to intervene in civil cases and should instead focus on boosting their efficiency in criminal cases.
Granting additional powers within the Code of Civil Procedure creates conditions for state bodies to interfere in private deals which could create a dangerous precedent in the development of normal commercial relations, the Chief Prosecutor said in a statement following a meeting with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Monday.
The concrete reason for proposing the changes – the acquisition of major telecommunication and defense industry assets in Bulgaria for a token price of EUR 1 by private capital investment company LIC33 – cannot serve as a basis for those changes in itself because the government, through the ministers of finance and regional development, can suspend deals in financial and property assets deemed harmful to state interests, the Chief Prosecutor said.
Following his meeting with Borisov, Tsatsarov also said he was under the impression his opinion on the proposed changes coincided to a very large extent with the prime minister’s position on the issue.
According to Tsatsarov, the proposed changes to the Code of Civil Procedure should be either withdrawn from Parliament, or at least they need editing to ensure increased powers to prevent fraud are granted to the Finance Minister, not to the Chief Prosecutor.
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