SPECIFICS IN THE REPRESENTATION OF VICTIMS OF CRIMES IN BULGARIA
May 15, 2021
FOREIGN NATIONALS USUALLY COMPLAIN ABOUT PROPERTY SCAMS AND FINANCIAL INVESTMENT FRAUDS
The types of crimes are regulated in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Bulgaria, which specifies when an act is considered a crime, in which cases it is punishable, and what the specific punishment should be in each case. The law provides for the protection of victims of crime in Bulgaria, including in cases where the victim is a foreign national abroad. In such cases, he or she is also authorized to lodge a complaint about a crime with the relevant investigative bodies in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The cases of committed crimes in which the victim is a foreign national are various and in most instances, these are cases of fraud within the meaning of Article 206 et seq. of the Criminal Code. These include various situations in which the foreign national has been misled into transferring a certain amount of money on a non-existent basis. In our practice we can give the following examples of such cases:
– Online investment in financial instruments;
– Documentary crimes, where false documents have been created and used, not originating from the foreign national as their author, etc.
– Encroachments on real estate owned by foreign nationals, and misuses of assets of companies the shareholders of which are foreign nationals.
– Cases of the so-called “love scams” on dating sites, in which a foreign national has been tricked into transferring a large sum of money to a local resident, usually with a promise of travel and cohabitation abroad which never happens.
– Cases of transport crimes (traffic accidents) in which the victim is a foreign national;
In all these cases, where a person has suffered from a crime in Bulgaria, it is very important:
1) To immediately notify the Bulgarian law enforcement bodies;
2) To provide all relevant information, and
3) To make requests to the investigative bodies to perform specific actions for verifying the complaint through which to reveal the objective truth and respectively to establish whether a crime has been committed within the meaning of the Criminal Code and the person who has committed it.
NEED OF REPRESENTATION OF THE VICTIM
In order to protect to the maximum extent the rights and legitimate interests of a person who has suffered from a crime committed in the Republic of Bulgaria, the same should be represented by a trustee – a lawyer specialized in the field of criminal law. This is important for several reasons:
– The lawyer will consult the victim about his/her rights and will prepare a complaint to the prosecutor’s office about a crime;
– The lawyer will support the complaint with the necessary evidence according to the specific case, in order to enable the prosecutor’s office to successfully detect the crime;
– The lawyer will also identify himself/herself before the investigating authorities as the victim’s representative and will be the formal contact between them. In this capacity, he/she communicates with the investigating authorities about the progress of the inspection, respectively, he/she may make requests, receive information, etc. In our practice as lawyers, we often communicate with the state authorities on behalf of a victim and contribute to speeding up criminal proceedings.
– Based on the direction of the investigation, the lawyer can advise a victim on the most appropriate follow-up legal actions that should be taken to protect his/her interest. After the approval of such actions by the client, the lawyer assists in their implementation. Also included here are the cases where the prosecutor’s office has issued a written refusal to initiate pre-trial proceedings on the complaint of a victim of a crime in Bulgaria and this refusal should be appealed. We have an extensive practice of appealing against refusals of the prosecutor’s office to initiate pre-trial proceedings on a complaint of a victim.
– Subsequently, if the perpetrator is charged and he/she is brought to justice, the victim can rely on a lawyer who is familiar with the details of the case and will defend his/her interests in court in bringing a private prosecution and bringing civil actions against the perpetrator for compensation for the crime thus committed.
Based on the above, we can conclude that a lawyer is important in proceedings for referring to law enforcement agencies for a crime. We recommend that victims of crime in Bulgaria consult with us whenever a crime has been committed against them, at an early stage, in order to explain in detail what their rights are, what the legal possibilities are and to assist them in drafting and lodging the relevant complaint. In many cases, it is necessary to act quickly to collect or provide relevant evidence, which often requires the help of a professional. The right approach to establishing all circumstances of a committed crime is of fundamental importance for its detection, and for punishing the perpetrator and obtaining compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages suffered respectively.
Our law firm has extensive experience in representing foreign nationals suffered from crimes in Bulgaria. We provide procedural representation of victims of crime before the Ministry of Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office and courts throughout the country. If you are a victim of a crime committed in Bulgaria and need a lawyer, you can contact us through the „Contacts” section on our website.
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