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On 19 November 2020 the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition ("CPC") fined Olineza Premium OOD ("Olineza"), one of the biggest Bulgarian food producers, BGN 1,479,040 (approx. EUR 700,000) or 4 % of its 2019 turnover. The fine was imposed for the "misleading use" of the word "homemade" stated on the label of a mayonnaise product, and comes after almost three years of administrative and court proceedings.

The amendments to the Bulgarian Tax and Social Security Procedure Code in August 2019 relating to mandatory transfer pricing (TP) documentation came into effect on January 1, 2020. Thus 2020 is the first year for which TP documentation, including a local file and a master file, should be prepared.

On July 28, 2020, CEE Legal Matters reported that Bulgaria’s Sabev & Partners law firm, working alongside DLA Piper, had advised the Government of Bulgaria on the tender procedure for the 35-year concession agreement for the Sofia Airport in Bulgaria, which was ultimately awarded to SOF Connect Consortium, led by Meridiam and including Munich Airport and Strabag, on its successful bid. We spoke to Sabev & Partners Iskra Neycheva and Boryana Boteva about the firm’s work on the project.

Until 2018 the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition had never prohibited a concentration. In 2018, however, in consecutive decisions, the CPC prohibited the acquisition of CEZ by Inercom and the acquisition of Nova TV by the investment group PPF. In 2019 two other transactions – Eurohold/CEZ and Emko/Dunarit – were blocked.

Currently, two large-scale energy infrastructure projects are being implemented in Bulgaria: the nuclear power plant near the town of Belene (the NPP Belene Project), where  a strategic investor is to be selected soon-, and the construction of an extension of the natural gas transmission system of Bulgaria (the ETSB Project).

I began practicing law more than 30 years ago. It runs in my family and I guess this is how I acquired my affinity towards it. Even during the communist period in Bulgaria, being a lawyer was among the few relatively independent professions – unconstrained by political, financial, and other pressures. This is another major reason I became a lawyer. The rule of law is something I was born and raised with.

“Over the course of the past three months, Bulgaria has been in proper political turmoil,” reports Georgi Tzvetkov, Partner at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov. “The protests in the streets against the government and the Chief Prosecutor have been going on for almost 90 days – an unprecedented sight in Bulgaria.” According to him, the tensions between the Prime Minister and the President are “like nothing we’ve seen before.”

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