Parliament Criminalizes Illegal Production, Distribution of Excise Goods

Parliament Criminalizes Illegal Production, Distribution of Excise Goods


Parliament Criminalizes Illegal
Production, Distribution of
Excise Goods

Sofia, December 13 (BTA) - Bulgaria's Parliament Thursday passed conclusively amendments to the Penal Code criminalizing the illicit production and distribution of excise goods. Any person who produces or holds, for the purpose of distribution, any alcohol, alcoholic beverages or tobacco products without authorization, will be punished by deprivation of liberty for a term ranging from one to six years and by a fine of 20,000 to 100,000 leva, as well as by disqualification, in other than minor cases. Any person who, in breach of the established procedure, prepares, holds or conceals any objects, materials, devices or technical equipment, in the knowledge or on a supposition that they are intended or have served for building facilities for the production of alcohol, alcoholic beverages or tobacco products, will be punished by up to three years' imprisonment.

The same bill amended and supplemented the Tobacco, Tobacco and Related Products Act, establishing a register of persons who import, introduce into the territory, produce, sell, provide, offer for sale or retrofit any machinery and/or plant for the production of tobacco products. The register will be public and will be kept by the Ministry of Economy.

Other revisions of the Penal Code pertain to unlawful motor vehicle break-ins, which will be punishable by up to three years imprisonment, while the alternative sanction, consisting of a fine of up to 3,000 leva, is scrapped.

The Criminal Procedure Code was also amended to transpose Directive 2013/48/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2013 on the right of access to a lawyer in criminal proceedings and in European arrest warrant proceedings, and on the right to have a third party informed upon deprivation of liberty and to communicate with third persons and with consular authorities while deprived of liberty. Under the new provisions, the notification of the family and employer of an accused party (or of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where the person is a foreign national) may be delayed by 48 hours where this is urgently necessary in order to avoid serious adverse consequences for the life or physical inviolability of any person of where urgent investigative acts need to be executed and their frustration would substantially jeopardize the criminal proceedings. The opposition BSP for Bulgaria opposed this amendment.

Other revisions to the Criminal Procedure Code, transposing the same Directive, impose an obligation to make general information available to an accused party facilitating his or her choice of a defence lawyer. The provisions expressly mention the right of an accused party to communicate with his or her defence lawyer, to meet in private with the defence lawyer and to obtain legal advice and other legal assistance, including before the commencement and in the course of questioning and of any other procedural act involving the accused party. RY/LG

Source: Sofia