26 Jan The Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Regime is no longer applicable to wholesalers


qThe Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act is amended to remove the wholesalers as a category of legal entities, which are required to comply with a special regime of investigating and reporting business partners to prevent money laundering. The revision is published in the State Gazette № 7 on 26.01.2021.

The purpose of the revision is to bring the Bulgarian law into compliance with the objective of the Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European parliament and of the council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing does not explicitly includes the wholesalers as obliged persons but introduces “other persons trading in goods to the extent that payments are made or received in cash in an amount of EUR 10 000 or more”.  Considering that the threshold for payments in cash in Bulgaria is approx. EUR 5,000, the revoked requirement had no basis in it either. Since it did not distinguish on basis of the type or the value of goods, this administrative rule effectively had placed the Bulgarian wholesalers in less favorable position than the wholesalers from the EU or third countries, which are not obliged to apply complex due diligence to their business relationships.

The amendment is well regarded as a necessary alleviation of the administrative burden on Bulgarian wholesalers and bringing the Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act closer to the purpose and spirit of the Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European parliament and of the council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing.