Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act revised again: Fewer companies required to report

In line with the revision of the Anti-Money Laundering Act in January 2021 regarding wholesalers (Wholesalers no longer required to report), the scope of the compliance obligations is further reduced with the next amendment announced today (State Gazette, issue 21 of 12.03.2021). The aim of the legislator, as with the previous revision, is to increase the effectiveness of the measures against money laundering and terrorist financing by focusing the resources on companies representing higher risk.

CHSDM-8A8DBE30BEF52-000001As of March 2021, three groups of persons and entities are no longer required to report and comply with other specific requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering Act. The rational is that they are subject to specific regulatory regime and have particularities, which render the measures envisaged in the law less effective and unjustifiably burdensome: a) professional unions and their organizations, legal entities with mutual funds, central securities depositories, market operators and/or regulated markets, and re-insurers; b) Persons subject to specific reporting requirements in line with the compliance regime set out in the Anti-Money Laundering Act such as the bodies of the National Revenue Agency and the customs authorities; and c) Privatization bodies, the persons organizing the assignment of public procurement, ministers and municipal mayors when dealing with concession contracts.

Furthermore, professional sports clubs are also no longer subject to the compliance requirements under the Anti-Money Laundering Act , with one notable exception – professional football clubs. This narrowing of the scope of the law is based on the assumption that  while the risk of money laundering is particularly high in professional football, the other sports clubs represent relatively low risk.

As the practice and enforcement of the law evolves, it is likely that the scope of the addressees of the reporting and compliance obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act will continue changing and adapting to improve the effectiveness of the measures without unnecessary administrative burden for entities where there are alternative means to achieve transparency.