|On December 5, 2007, in Washington DC, the Center for the Study of Democracy and the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) of the US Department of Justice organized a round table discussion on Asset Forfeiture in Bulgaria: Policies and First Results featuring a keynote address by the Chair of the Bulgarian Asset Forfeiture Commission Professor Stoyan Kushlev.|
In his opening remarks OPDAT Director Carl Alexandre outlined the importance of asset forfeiture for effectively countering organized crime. Stressing on the need of enhanced international cooperation Mr. Alexandre confirmed the readiness of OPDAT to provide assistance for further strengthening the Bulgarian Asset Forfeiture Commission, which, according to him, has already achieved significant results despite being set up only two years ago.
Following a brief presentation of the organizational structure and the activities of the Bulgarian Asset Forfeiture Commission, made by Mr. Nikolay Lachkov, Expert at the Commission’s Regional Directorate in Sofia, the Chair of the Commission Prof. Stoyan Kushlev pointed out the results achieved and the challenges faced so far by the institution. Prof Kushlev mentioned some the shortcomings of the asset forfeiture legislation that impede the effective operation of the Commission and shared his views on some legislative amendments that might improve the Commissions activities.
Mr. Dimitar Markov, Project Coordinator at the CSD Law Program, briefed the participants on the role of the civil society in the process of introducing asset forfeiture in Bulgaria. He presented the series of activities organized by CSD during the drafting of the asset forfeiture legislation and outlined the way civil society may further cooperate with the Asset Forfeiture Commission, e.g. in raising public awareness, organization of trainings, monitoring, etc.
During the discussion that followed Prof. Kushlev answered a number of questions by the participants and expressed his belief that the event will streamline the cooperation between the Bulgarian Asset Forfeiture Commission and its US counterparts to more effectively counter international organized crime.