Services

the services you can expect from us and our partners

We provide legal and administrative services, predominantly to high-net-worth-individuals and international companies. Our consultants travel the world to meet clients on all five continents in order to provide timely and effective assistance and support, even in the most complicated cases.

Applying for Bulgarian citizenship – the legal caveats

It’s obvious that the main goal of each and every applicant for Bulgarian citizenship is to get approved. On top of that, all applicants hope to get approved a.s.a.p. This is logical and understandable. Unfortunately, more and more would be Bulgarians are cutting some very important corners throughout the application process. Most of them don’t really realize that, as the Bulgarian legal system is unknown to them. Unfortunately the consequences can be harsh, really harsh.

What are the most common problems behind the rejected citizenship applications

In the last year we have been contacted by alarming number of clients who had their Bulgarian citizenship application stuck or rejected. What took us by surprise was not the big increase in rejected applications, but the fact that it was the applicants’ own fault in most cases.

So what did the applicants do so terribly wrong to have their citizenship applications grounded? And are there an other consequences for them, besides the rejection of the application.

We will list below the five most frequent reasons that we have encountered:

  1. Application for citizenship by origin with false certificate for Bulgarian origin – 41%;
  2. Citizenship by investment with exotic “investment” arrangements – 22%;
  3. Untrue declaration(s) during the naturalization procedures – 20%;
  4. Criminal or otherwise unclear (hard to verify) history record of the applicant – 6%;
  5. Sham marriages – 4%.

The harsh consequences – the Bulgarian Penal Code

The problem with most of the rejected applications was that the candidates have become victims of their ignorance of the Bulgarian legal system. Not only their citizenship was not approved, but in many cases, it was much worse. The Bulgarian authorities were investigating the provided documents and in some cases were planning to launch criminal proceedings.

Let’s sum up what the potential problems were for each of the above five categories.

False certificates for Bulgarian origin

In this category are falling mostly clients from Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine and Moldova. They were all victims of the unscrupulous internet “agents” who have lured them with the false promise that “everyone from their region is considered to be Bulgarian“. With low fees and “full guarantees”, the clients have signed up for the fake Bulgarian origin schemes. Consequentially they have been provided with fake certificates of Bulgarian ancestry.

And once these certificates, or other supporting documents, were used in Bulgaria, the applicants have committed criminal offence.

Whoever draws up a false official document or alters the content of an official document in order to be used, shall be punished for forgery of a document with imprisonment of up to three years.

Art. 308. (1) from the Penal Code

Whoever, alone or through another, draws up a false private document or alters the contents of a private document and uses it to prove that it exists or does not exist or that a right or obligation or a legal relationship has been terminated or amended shall be punished for falsifying a document with imprisonment of up to two years.

Art. 309. (1) from the Penal Code

Exotic financial schemes for citizenship by investment

The legal way to obtain citizenship by investment

As you all know, the Bulgarian citizenship by investment program requires an amount of either 512 000 EUR or 1 024 000 EUR to be invested in Bulgarian Eurobonds, stock-exchange-listed shares, etc. Unfortunately, as many citizenship enthusiasts don’t have such net-worth, they aggressively seek other “investment alternatives”. These are mainly the options to use credit facility in order to buy the bonds/shares on “margin”, thereby using the investment as collateral in order to finance it. It pretty much works like mortgaging your home. While this is legal, the government isn’t found of these practices.

The illegal “financial investments”

What the real problem is, is that some “agents” have invented all sort of “derivative” ways to circumvent the legal requirement to invest 512000 or 1024000 EUR. Instead of trying to arrange straightforward financing of the investment, they gave birth to all sort of “exotic financial arrangements”. Such “arrangements” are usually very beneficial for the “agents” as the citizenship applicant is basically left with worthless portfolio of junk “instruments”. These “instruments” or “investments” can be hardly resold (liquidated) for anything that comes even close to the amount they were purchased for. Such can be “investments” in “offshore insurance products”, real estate developments, offshore private equity, “startups”, unrated bonds, IPO’s, ICO’s, Ethereum, Bitcoin, etc.

False declaration and tax evasion

The main problem with such schemes is not only that they are a way to circumvent the investment criteria of the citizenship laws. Such circumvention is not immediately a criminal offense (in fact, this is not an offense at all, if done rightfully). Unfortunately however, in order for these schemes to work, the client is asked to sign a bunch of documents (contracts, declarations, credit or ease agreements, etc.) that very often fall in the category of “untrue declaration”. Many times, these also circumvent the tax laws in Bulgaria, which is punishable by the penal code.

As a rule of thumb, if you haven’t invested the full amount, required for the Bulgarian CIP and you don’t have a clear and straightforward credit agreement with reputable financial institution (ie bank), then you better contact your trusted lawyer.

Whoever confirms untruth or conceals truth in a written declaration or message sent electronically, which by virtue of a law, decree or decree of the Council of Ministers are given to a public authority to certify the truth of certain circumstances, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years or with a fine of one hundred to three hundred levs.

Art. 313 from the Penal Code

Whoever avoids establishing or paying more than 1534 EUR of tax liabilities, …. shall be punished by imprisonment of one to six years and by a fine of up to two thousand levs…
When the tax liabilities exceed 6136 EUR, the penalty is imprisonment for three to eight years and confiscation of part or all of the property of the offender.

Art. 255 from the Penal Code

False (untrue) declaration, shady past of the applicant and fake marriages

This is, as stated above, punishable under art 313 of the penal code.

Foreigners married to Bulgarian citizens need to sign declaration, that the marriage is not a sham marriage with the purpose to circumvent the immigration laws.

Declarations are also needed for the applicant’s past, criminal history, etc. Failure to provide accurate information may be punishable under art.313.

What to do if you believe you may have done something wrong during your citizenship application?

First of all, don’t panic. It is not always that if any of the scenarios above apply to you, you will be criminally prosecuted. In many cases, the authorities don’t dig too deep to start investigation.

Secondly, try to collect all documents that you have filed and signed to have them for your reference. If you find any serious irregularities, consult your trusted lawyer or liaise with us for assistance.

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Bad reviews on Facebook, Google, eBay, etc. – how to seek legal compensation under Bulgarian and EU laws

bad reviews libel

You can now get huge financial compensation from those who have left you unfair and defamatory reviews online? And in some cases, the perpetrators can even face criminal responsibility for harming your reputation!

Trust, doing business and how the “social culture” on FB, Google, Booking.com, eBay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc. changed the business climate completely

Trust is important. Doing business without trust is virtually impossible. And in our days, trust can be ruined with a mouse-click. Luckily, there are legal ways to protect your business reputation from the ones who misuse the system.

doing business in the 1970s

Building trust in the very old days

Prior to the turn of the century, trust was built privately (and so were bank accounts, relationships, etc., but this is subject to another article). People used to communicate face-to-face and those who were honest were well known and highly valued within the businesses communities. Clients used to trust the businesses by default and indeed, it was very rare when the customers were left empty-handed or hugely dissatisfied.

doing business in year 2000

Building trust in the old days

With the massive shift to doing business online, building trust became completely different adventure. Large online businesses like eBay introduced the system of… “feedback”. At first, this was a way for both the buyer and the seller to exchange publicly their opinion of each other, for everyone to see. Later, the option for the seller to leave negative feedback was withdrawn. And here is when things became sour – it was the “buyer is always right” culture that took the lead. And then, the phenomena of the “feedback extortion” was born. But the worst was still to come…

doing business in 2020

Building trust TODAY

Feedback and reviews became the weapon of mass destruction for many. And the rules of the game changed once again. Sellers on eBay for instance were confronted with negative feedback from”buyers” who didn’t even pay for their purchases (so were they “buyers” at all?). Facebook and Google were already allowing reviews from just about everybody. No matter if the person has ever conducted business with a company – a bad review could be received, out of the blue. Bad reviews became a thing to fear, no matter from whom – a genuine client with “high expectations”, an “extortionist”, or from somebody who you didn’t even know to exist.

How to sue those who are leaving you unjustified comments on public domains

If you got unfair and defamatory review or feedback on the internet, don’t wait a second and seek legal compensation. Make use of the Bulgarian and the EU laws and get compensated asap. Don’t let those who lie online to ruin your reputation. By protecting yourself, you will also protect the whole business community.

Justified vs unjustified feedback/comments

It is important to understand that not all negative comments can be attacked in court. In general, comments serve to inform the public about the opinion of a client about the services (or the products) of the seller. And of course, opinion can be subjective. But only to a certain, reasonable degree.

We find this article of How-To Geek to explain very well the difference between justified and unjustified comments. Still, from 2018, when the article was written, the EU regulations have made seeking legal compensation for defamation a much easier job. And most importantly, the amount of the compensations have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.

Untrue and dishonest comments

Untrue feedback is probably the most often used “weapon” of “dishonest clients” to get additional benefits. People often lie blatantly, damage the reputation of the seller and then demand additional services in return for withdrawing their review. This is also known as “feedback extortion” and is especially widespread on eBay and similar online platforms.

In general, any comment or review that is not 100% true and honest can be attacked in Bulgarian (and EU) Court of Law as libelous and defamatory

In recent years, the Bulgarian legislation adopted a policy of hugely increased fines (GDPR non compliance for instance can result in up-to 20 million Euro fine!!! So don’t be surprised if it appears that you can be compensated with few hundred thousand Euro and even more.

Advice not to use the services of the seller

Any comments with advice to the public not to work with the company or person is also of defamatory origin. For example, if our client gets a review like “Don’t work with this company, because they provide poor service!“, we can immediately sue the perpetrator for considerable damages.

Feedback and comments that accuse you of criminal activities

If in any public review, your business is falsely accused of any criminal activities, contact us immediately. If you have received a review that is claiming that your business is a “scam”, or anything alike, then the person who has left it can be criminally charged for libel. And this comes on top of the compensation that you may be awarded by the Court.

So what can you do if you believe that you have received a defamatory or untrue comment on public domain?

Please contact us immediately if the business you are running is registered in Bulgaria or in the EU. Or if the person who has left you the comment is Bulgarian or EU citizen or resident. We will make sure that the legal system will protect your rights and reputation and we will work hard to get you the maximum compensation possible. In some cases of criminal libel, we may also engage the Prosecutor’s office. In such cases the perpetrator can be charged according to the relevant penal code.

And don’t forget, by protecting your business from libelous feedback, you will be also protecting the entire honest business community from those who are misusing the system. Leaving comments online is easy and appreciated. But libelous and untrue statements can backfire hilariously via the legal system in Bulgaria and the EU.

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Liquidation of a company with assistance of the prosecutor

прекратяване дружество чрез прокурор

In practice, the only possibility for liquidation of OOD / EOOD and AD / EAD, in the absence of a representative (ie director) or disputes between the shareholders

Nature of the procedure

Termination of a company through a prosecutor is a specific procedure that can be applied only in the cases explicitly stated in the law. In certain cases, the prosecutor’s office supervises compliance with the requirements of the Commercial Law (CL) in the establishment and operation of commercial companies.

The commercial company, within the meaning of the Commercial Law, is an union between two or more persons for carrying out commercial transactions with mutual capital and in pursuit of common goal. As such an entity, companies form and express their will through their officers. In different cases these are – manager, board of directors, supervisory board, etc. Through them the company participates in commercial trade. If the company does not have such officers – it cannot form and express its will, it cannot participate in the commercial activities and its existence becomes futile. It is in these cases that the law gives rights to the prosecutor to initiate an action for termination of the company. And it is basically the only option for some shareholders to liquidate their companies, when they don’t have quorum to appoint an officer or representative (ie CEO).

The termination of the company is an action that is basically the opposite to its establishment. The grounds on which a company can be terminated are generally divided into legal and contractual. The legal grounds are specified in the law. With the advent of these grounds, the competent authorities have the right to request the district court to terminate the company.

Termination of Ltd. through the prosecutor

The grounds for termination of a commercial company through the prosecutor’s office are specified in Art. 155, item 2 and item 3 of the Commercial Law. The first ground will be present when the activity of the company contradicts the law. The second – if the company has no registered representative (officer, CEO, etc.) for a period of at least three months. In this article we will study the second hypothesis – when the company does not have a registered manager.

According to Art. 135, para. 1, item 2 of the Commercial Law, the manager is an obligatory and necessary body of the limited liability company. He is elected at the conclusion of the company contract with which the company is established. The manager organizes and manages the activity of the company. Through it the company expresses its will and participates in the trade turnover. If there is no manager, the company would not be able to operate. Its existence will be superfluous.

However, when this ground arises, the company is not automatically terminated and liquidated. It is necessary to take the necessary actions to enter the company in a new phase – the liquidation phase.

Procedure

The proceedings for termination of a commercial company by referring to the prosecutor goes through several stages. First of all, the prosecutor, on the signal of an interested person, should check whether the legal grounds are indeed present. The prosecutor must check whether the company has a registered manager (officer, CEO, etc,). If the company does not have a registered manager – the prosecutor checks for how long a manager has been missing from the history of the company in the Commercial Register.

If the prosecutor deems that there are grounds for termination of the company, he must refer to the competent district court. The court has to be referred with a claim to terminate the company. In this proceedings, the company will be constituted as a defendant.

The district court at the seat of the company is always competent to consider and pronounce on the claim of the prosecutor. If the court finds that the prerequisites are actually present – there is no registered manager for more than 3 months, he must issue a judgment with which to terminate the company. The decision of the court will be constitutive – from its entry into force, the company will be considered terminated.

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Online visa application assistance during the covid-19 crisis

Bulgarian visa support during the corona virus quarantine

Posolstvo.eu is providing 24/7 support to foreigners in Bulgaria who need to prolong their visa or visa-free allowed term.

Residency permit support

Citizenship and Investment LTD, the company behind Posolstvo.eu, is also assisting foreign nationals to obtain Bulgarian immigration visa D, long-term and permanent residency permits in Bulgaria during the state of emergency in Bulgaria, which is initially set to continue until 13.04.2020.

Bulgarian citizenship during the state of emergency

The Bulgarian citizenship by investment program at the same time is going without any changes. Due to the coronavirus quarantine, the citizenship interviews are postponed for after April 13th 2020.

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Legal assistance to MVNOs around the world

gsm towers
Mobile telecommunication towers construction above. While MVNOs don’t bother with the construction work, they are facing many other challenges ahead.

MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) may be the future in the low-end price segment of the mobile communications. But in our, more and more bureaucratic world, the legal challenges are becoming a “deal-breaker” for many.

We are offering consultancy and legal assistance to different Mobile Virtual Network Operators around the world

The world is going virtual and MVNOs don’t have to deal with base stations construction, radio engineering or site acquisition.

The mobile network operators (MNO) have already done the hard job.

At the same time however, when the MNOs were building their network infrastructures, they had the comfort of charging fees, which are now hard to comprehend. The legal framework, in the times when most of the mobile networks were created, was also somewhat more relaxed than it is now.

We are not MVNE (Mobile Virtual Network Enabler).

We are offering assistance to MVNOs and to MVNEs to deal with their (predominantly) legal issues.

Students from Kyiv

Did you know that….

During the roll-out of the major MNOs in Ukraine, the country didn’t have radio-engineering faculty and as a consequence, no qualified radio engineers. Such issues were to be solved by the MNOs.

Why choose us?

We know how the MNO, MVNO and the MVNE business models function

Throughout our history, we have been deeply involved in the specifics of the telecommunication sector. We believe to be extremely well aware of how the mobile networks were rolled out and what challenges they all had to face in the beginning. We have experienced first-hand, the birth of the first MVNOs and MVNOs and their later rapid growth.

During the years, we have been involved with major telecom players in Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Greece and Belgium.

After our expansion to Dubai, we are now aiming at closing deals with the new MVNO startups in Saudi Arabia that are planned to start rolling later in 2020.

Our interest in the Hong Kong market dates back for almost 10 years when the majority of the MVNO’s licenses were granted. Currently our lawyers are scheduling important meetings for the end of January 2020 in HK. And although the city is still struggling with the consequences from the mass protests that started in 2019, we see bright future in the telecom sector.

Invaluable legal assistance

For many, as MVNOs don’t have mobile network infrastructure to take care of and maintain, their operations are as easy as sending monthly invoices to their subscribers. Nothing could be further from the truth. The challenges the MVNOs are facing are endless. Software integration, development, marketing, and the list goes on and on. And all departments of a MVNO (and MVNE alike) have to deal with different legal issues on a daily basis. That’s where our legal expertise comes at hand.

We believe to have saved millions for our clients by improving their legal compliance and protecting them in times when they had to enter in legal disputes.

We think LEGAL, in Bulgaria and Worldwide

We are perfectionists when it comes to legal matters. And while our roots are buried deep in Bulgaria, our branches reach far beyond. Mobile operators and MVNO/MVNEs alike face international legal issues that span accross countries and continents. And we are most of anybody else capable of providing the best advice to their advantage.

We speak your language

We always try speaking the language of our clients – English, Russian, Dutch, German. But its not merely the language proficiency that matters. The core understanding of our customers’ problems, in the realm of the relevant legal framework, is what matters most.

We travel the World

We operate from Bulgaria, but we spend on international travel more (in terms of ratio to the revenue of course) than any other legal entity that we know of. We believe this to be essential part of our business model and the best way to fully assist our important clients.

You may wish to check our legal support and accountancy section or to contact us for further assistance.

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Payment administration services in Bulgaria

We provide support to international companies to administrate their receivables and payments in Bulgaria

Globe and worldwide payments

We offer payment administration services to (predominantly) international companies who are willing to consolidate their incoming payments in Bulgaria. By doing so, we eliminate the headache of chasing payment due dates, issuance of invoices (compliant with Bulgarian accountancy laws), controlling bank charges and other fees, etc.

Authorizing one of our, specially registered for the purpose companies, to act on your behalf and to receive payments from your international clientele has many advantages. Not only will you be relieved from the associated administration load, but most importantly, your company will have an additional layer of protection by utilizing our undisputed reputation with the banks in Bulgaria.

Apart from the administrative assistance and the workload we will take on us, what are the other special cases when our payment administration services are most sought after?

International company with sustainable business model, willing to establish presence in Bulgaria

The low tax rate in Bulgaria and the unexpected effects from it

When the Bulgarian parliament introduced the 10% flat rate in Bulgaria, the main idea behind this move was to (1) assist the Bulgarian business through low taxation and (2) to attract foreign investors who would relocate their businesses to Bulgaria in order to profit from the low tax rates.

The influx of foreign businesses in Bulgaria

Since then, thousands of foreign businesses have indeed relocated their financial centers to Bulgaria and have thereby utilized the advantages of the Bulgarian tax system. For many years, the system worked really well and it was a win-win game for both the foreign companies and the Bulgarian budget. The taxes paid by the international business, while quite low for them, were a nice bonus for the Bulgarian economy.

The tightened conditions

In recent years however, with the tightening of the international control on tax evasion, the financing of terrorism and the Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations, the banks in Bulgaria were forced to introduce special measures and extremely comprehensive KYC (know your customer) standards.

The (un)expected reaction of the banks

This has led to a genuine desire of the banks to know in detail the business model of their international clients, a task that became just too much to handle. While Bulgarian businesses are more or less transparent to the local banks, as they have most of their business resources concentrated in the country (employees, clients, offices, etc.), a foreign business appears as a blank canvas, if seen from Bulgarian perspective. And amid the new AML, KYC and other regulations, this blank canvas meant for the banks nothing, but trouble. New businesses, involving BitCoin and other crypto currencies, have also poured oil on the fire. All that has made the Bulgarian banks extremely worried of the situation.

The massive closures

And the result was to be expected. Under threat of furious sanctions on national and EU level for not being able to meet the latest (unclear) AML/KYC regulations, THE BANKS IN BULGARIA STARTED CLOSING FOREIGN ACCOUNTS ON A MASSIVE SCALE. They have also started applying a POLICY OF ZERO NEW CLIENT ACCEPTANCE.

With our payment administration services, your business is protected from account closures!

Foreign small or mid-size company wishing to start business in Bulgaria

These companies are now in fact being deprived of the right to register a business in Bulgaria as they are simply not able to open a bank account (required for the registration). Their resources and lack of business history doesn’t allow them the chance to prove to the Bulgarian banks their genuine business intentions.

The solution for you

By employing us to handle your payment administration, you get:

  • Flawless administration of your payments and invoices;
  • Ultimate tax compliance (if combined with our accountancy services);
  • Possibility to work with your Bulgarian company and enjoy the 10% tax rate even without a bank account in the country;
  • Professional reporting and consolidation of debts.

Please contact us for a non binding consultation and an opportunity to enhance your business model.

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Have you been arrested or criminally charged in Bulgaria?

Our lawyers will provide immediate 24/7 help and will fully assist you (in your own language) to take all legal steps for your immediate release and subsequent defense

arrested in Bulgaria

Many of you have been watching the Locked up abroad series on National Geographic. And to tell the truth, these shows are a lot of fun. Until you get yourself trapped in the same situation and then the nightmare may begin…

Bulgaria’s rapid economic growth in the last decade has led to a skyrocketing number of foreigners visiting our country. Hundreds of thousands of tourists come to our seaside resorts during the summer and the show continues at the ski slopes later in the winter. The Bulgarian liberal tax system, charging the Bulgarian based businesses (companies) with a ridiculously low flat tax rate of only 10%, brought huge number of foreign businessmen who registered their companies in Bulgaria to have a breath of fresh air, far from their high-tax countries.

But this influx of relocated foreign businesses and tourists, along with a wide-spread ignorance of the Bulgarian laws, has led to another phenomenon – a huge increase of the penal cases against foreigners in Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian penal code is being applied for all crimes that are commenced in the territory of the country, irrespectively of the nationality of the perpetrator. The penal legislation in Bulgaria is overly complicated and is in general harsher than most other EU criminal legislations. The real problem however is not the severity of the foreseen sentences, but the fact that most foreigners, knowing what is considered to be a crime in their home countries, are completely unaware of what constitutes crime in Bulgaria.

So what are the foreigners in Bulgaria usually being charged with? As the range of felonies committed in Bulgaria by foreign nationals is quite wide, we will dig into this topic in more detail below.

The most common criminal charges that are being pressed against foreign nationals in Bulgaria for the period 2014-2019

Foreigners in Bulgaria are being charged most often for the following crimes:

  • Hooliganism;
  • Caused injuries (often in combination with hooliganism);
  • Possession or traffic of drugs;
  • Driving under influence (alcohol or drugs);
  • General fraud;
  • Documentary fraud (often difficult for foreigners to even realize they are comiting documentary fraud in Bulgaria);
  • Credit card fraud;
  • Tax evasion (very often!);
  • Violation of the currency regulations (i.e. undeclared money at border crossing);
  • Libel and defamation;
  • Illegal entry into Bulgaria;
  • Human trafficking.

SO HOW WE CAN HELP YOU IF YOU HAVE BEEN ARRESTED OR CHARGED IN BULGARIA FOR CRIMINAL OFFENCES?

We will provide round the clock service in case you have been detained in Bulgaria. We will provide highly skill criminal lawyer(s) who speaks your language to:

Represent you in front of the police authorities;

Apply for your immediate release from custody;

Arrange the bail formalities (if necessary);

Provide you with communication channel with your Embassy (if required);

Explain you (in an understandable language) your rights and obligations;

Prepare the line of defense in case that charges are pressed;

Represent you fully in the court of law;

Appeal court decisions (if you have contacted us too late) and much, much more.

If you need our assistance, please call or email us at once (at the contact details that are below the footer). You can also contact us through the contact form on our main webpage (will open in new window): www.bglaw.eu.

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