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Nachalnik na Rayonno upravlenie Silistra

On 16 June 2022, the First Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union rendered a decision regarding the interpretation of objectives and conditions for issuing and executing alerts in the SIS on objects for seizure or use as evidence in criminal proceedings.

A Bulgarian national, EF, took out a bank loan from Santander Consumer Bank in Norway in order to buy a vehicle. In 2016, he stopped repaying the loan. The vehicle was subsequently purchased by AB who then sold it to DB. The Kingdom of Norway introduced an alert in the SISN for the purpose of seizing the vehicle as stolen property (“Stolen, illegally obtained or lost”). The vehicle was later found in Bulgaria and seized from DB. The Bulgarian authorities subsequently executed the request of the Norwegian authorities to return the vehicle to its owner, the Norwegian bank.

DB contested the return of the car to Norwegian authorities on the ground that it was not established that criminal proceedings had actually been initiated in Norway while asserting his good faith when obtaining the vehicle. The referring court considered that, in the absence of criminal proceedings initiated in the issuing Member State, the alert on the vehicle concerned would not fall within the scope of the SIS II Decision. Thus, the administrative tribunal of Silistra decided to refer one preliminary question to the Court as to whether Article 39 of the SIS II decision (‘execution of the action based on an alert’) must be interpreted as precluding national legislation under which the national authorities in the executing Member State are obliged to execute an alert entered in the SIS on an object, even when they have doubts as to the compatibility of the introduction of such an alert with the objectives of the SIS II decision.

The Court answered that Article 39 of the said Decision does not preclude such a situation. In order to drawn this conclusion, the Court took into account a number of arguments, such as the importance of ensuring effective operational cooperation in criminal matters in addition to the margin of discretion left to the executing Member State in the context of the execution of an alert.

Case Number C-520/20

Name of the parties DB and LY v Nachalnik na Rayonno upravlenie Silistra pri Oblastna direktsia na Ministerstvo na vatreshnite raboti

Date of the judgement 2022-06-16

Court Court of Justice of the European Union (First Chamber)