Sofia Appellate Court ruled on June 21 to terminate the asset forfeiture lawsuit filed by Bulgaria’s anti-corruption body against former deputy Parliament Speaker Hristo Biserov and two members of his immediate family, in which the body sought to confiscate assets worth two million leva.
The presiding judge ruled that European Union legislation superseded the amendments to Bulgaria’s anti-corruption law passed by Parliament in December 2018, which allowed courts to proceed with asset forfeiture lawsuits in cases without a criminal conviction.
Biserov was indicted in April 2015 on charges of large-scale tax evasion, breaking the law on currency transactions and document fraud, for failing to submit accurate asset declarations as an elected official.
Biserov, who was deputy leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) and Deputy Speaker of Bulgaria’s 42nd National Assembly, resigned abruptly from all leadership positions of the party and from Parliament in November 2013, only days before prosecutors announced that they opened an investigation against him.
He was found not guilty on those charges in December 2015, with an appeals court upholding the acquittal a year later.
Additionally, the court ruled that the anti-corruption body will have to cover Biserov’s court expenses of about 52 000 leva. The large legal fees could not be reduced because those were the minimum amounts set by law in asset forfeiture cases involving such large sums of money.
Biserov’s two relatives, his wife and step-son, are still subject to another asset forfeiture lawsuit for four million leva, stemming from the same charges on which Biserov has been acquitted, lex.bg reported.
(Photo of Hristo Biserov on an MRF campaign poster: dps.bg)