A New Measures against Money Laundering Act (the “Act”) was promulgated in the State Gazette, issue 27, dated 27 March 2018, and will enter into force on 31 March 2018. It partially transposes the provisions of 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 (the “Directive”) and repeals the current Measures against Money Laundering Act.
Pursuant to the Act, all legal persons and other establishments registered in Bulgaria, including those acting in their capacity as trustees of trusts, trust funds and legal arrangements similar to trusts, established and existing under the law of jurisdictions allowing such forms of trust, are required to announce information about their beneficial owners. Information regarding the legal persons and other establishments that directly or indirectly control the persons and establishments under the preceding sentence is also required to be announced.
The information is to be entered under the batch of the respective person in the Commercial Register and Register for non-profit legal entities or the BULSTAT Register until 1 February 2019. The procedure to enter the information and data about the beneficial owners and the persons through whom control is exercised is to be provided for in detail until 1 October 2018.
The Act introduces a new legal definition of the term “beneficial owner” which fully corresponds to the definition introduced by the Directive. An important new element is that if the beneficial owner cannot be identified, or when there are doubts that the person identified is not the beneficial owner, the individual who acts as a senior managing official in the company shall be considered the beneficial owner.
The Act provides for penalties between BGN 1,000 and BGN 10,000 for individuals and between BGN 2,000 and BGN 20,000 for legal entities for non-compliance with the above obligation within the statutory deadline.
The Act also amends a number of other acts such as the Commercial Act, the Non-Profit Legal Entities Act, the BULSTAT Registry Act, the Tax and Social Security Procedure Code, the Measures against the Financing of Terrorism Act, and others.
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