Bulgaria’s Cabinet approved at its June 8 meeting a bill of amendments to the Commercial Act meant to deter theft of companies, the government’s media office said.
One of the key provisions of the bill is requiring public notaries to authenticate not just signatures on contracts and other company documents that must be filed with the Trade Register, but the contents of those documents as well. At the request of business groups, this more complex authentication process would be subject to a flat-rate fee, the statement said.
Additionally, notaries would now be required to keep copies of all documents that they authenticate, while officials at the Registry Agency, responsible for keeping track of changes to the Trade Register, will be required to double-check company papers in the notary chamber system prior to registration. Furthermore, the bill introduces a provision that will hold officials at the Registry Agency liable for any damages resulting from their actions or inaction.
“A survey of businesses showed that they prefer to carry out a more extensive notary authentication as long as they can be certain that their companies would not be stolen and overtaken,” Justice Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva told reporters after the Cabinet meetings, as quoted by Bulgarian National Radio.
Requiring notaries to keep copies of documents on file would make it easier to ascertain notary liability, she said.
Instances of company theft in Bulgaria have gone up in recent years, with the head of the country’s notary chamber saying earlier this year that it had become a full-blown business, with criminals targeting companies with large turnovers and several properties from which they could quickly turn a profit through fraudulently taking over the company.
The bill also has adds a new chapter to the Commercial Act on financial recovery plans that is meant to increase the efficiency of such measures for companies at risk of insolvency. The new provisions are based on recommendations issued by the European Commission in 2014, the government statement said.