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346 cases were restarted in Bulgaria, the Court of Justice gave the green light to CCCCIAP

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The Court of Justice of the European Union in Luxembourg has ruled that the law on the Commission for Combating Corruption and Confiscation of Illegally Acquired Property(CCCCIAP) is not contrary to European law. CCCCIAP will immediately submit requests for their resumption.

The case arose after a preliminary inquiry sent by Judge Petya Aleksieva of the Sofia City Court in a case initiated by CCCCIAP for confiscation of illegally acquired property.

On May 5, 2015, the Sofia Military District Prosecutor’s Office notified CCCCIAP of an indictment against an official – Head of the Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology at the Military Medical Academy – Sofia, for the fact that for the period from November 29, 2004 to September 10, 2014 has performed actions beyond the limits of the official powers granted to her, in order to obtain property benefits for herself and for a company in which she is a majority partner.

The criminal proceedings are currently pending before the Sofia Military Court. On the basis of the notification from the prosecution, the Commission initiated an investigation into the accused, during which it found a significant discrepancy between the official’s property and his income.

Thus, on January 18, 2017, CCCCIAP filed a claim with the Sofia City Court for confiscation of illegally acquired property in favor of the state.

On April 2, 2019, Judge Aleksieva suspended the proceedings in the case and sent an inquiry to the Court of Justice of the European Union, generally concerning the compliance of the Bulgarian law on confiscation of illegally acquired property with European law.

The reference for a preliminary ruling relates to the EP and EU Directive on the securing and confiscation of the proceeds of crime and whether it should be applied in proceedings for the confiscation of illegally acquired property.

In its judgment, the Court of Justice noted that the confiscation proceedings pending before the Sofia City Court were civil and that domestic law provided, inter alia, for a confiscation regime under criminal law.

The proceedings under CCCCIAP focus on the property that is alleged to have been acquired illegally and are conducted regardless of the possible criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator of the crimes, as well as the possible conviction for him.

According to the Court of Justice, the directive sets only minimum standards and each Member State may provide in its domestic law for other provisions under which illegally acquired property may be confiscated under the so – called “civil confiscation” regime, regardless of development. and the outcome of the criminal proceedings.

As a result of the preliminary legal inquiry sent by the Sofia City Court, a total of 346 cases were suspended in the courts in the country, in which CCCCIAP claims confiscation of illegally acquired property.

Following the ruling of the Court of Justice in Luxembourg that the Bulgarian law on confiscation of illegally acquired property is in line with EU law, KPCONPI will immediately submit requests for their resumption.

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