On 14.07.2023 the National Assembly of Bulgaria adopted new amendments to theMeasures against Money Laundering Act (MAMLA), which aim to achieve compliance with the Directive 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018. The afore-mentioned amendments were published in the State Gazette, issue No. 60, on 14.07.2023.
A summary of the most important amendments follows:
Resolving any discrepancy between the information provided and announced on the ultimate beneficial owner and the information collected on the beneficial owner
The new provision in art. 63a provides the possibility all obliged persons under the MAMLA, as well as authorities such as the State Agency for National Security, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the National Revenue Agency etc., to inform the Registry Agency in case they establish discrepancies between the announced in the Commercial register and the Register of non-profit legal entities or the BULSTAT Register, information about the beneficial owners and the information collected by them related to the beneficial owners of the relevant legal entity.
In cases of differences in the data or other discrepancies, the competent authority (out of the above-mentioned) notifies the Registry Agency within a period of 14 days as of the day the discrepancy was established.
As a result, the Registry Agency informs the relevant legal entity about its obligation to undertake actions to amend the information announced for the ultimate beneficial owner under the batch of the relevant legal entity and submit the necessary documents.
The provisions of art. 63a will enter into force on 16.07.2024. Failure to comply with the said provision will lead to penalties for the obliged entities.
New requirements for entities providing legal services, intermediary services, corporate secretarial services
As of 14.07.2023 another new provision under art. 9b of the MAMLA specifies additional requirements for individuals who provide legal services, corporate secretarial services, intermediary services regarding real estate transactions. The individuals must comply with the following requirements:
– Must not have been convicted of an intentional crime of general nature, unless rehabilitated.
– Must not have been member of a management or controlling body or an unlimited responsible partner in a company for which bankruptcy proceedings have been opened, or in a company terminated due to bankruptcy, in the last two years preceding the date of the decision to declare bankruptcy, if the said companies still have creditors with unsatisfied claims.
– Does not fall within the restrictions for holding a senior management position under MAMLA.
– He/She is not deprived of the right to hold a materially responsible position
– Based on the personal data collected for him/her, there are no reasons to doubt his/her reliability and suitability.
The above-mentioned requirements apply to managers, procurators, members of management or controlling bodies, limited shareholders, as well as to the ultimate beneficial owners.
Additional documents for ultimate beneficial owners
A new requirement is implemented for provision of documents which prove that the individuals announced as ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) fall within the relevant definition under the MAMLA Supplementary Provisions.
Internal Rules update
As of 14.07.2023 all obliged under MAMLA entities are bound to update their Internal Rules under art. 101 MAMLA by adding procedures related to professional competence and reliability of the specialized service and of employees responsible for control and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Obligation for registration in a new public register
As of 16.01.2024 entities which provide services such as registered and correspondence address, business accommodation, any other services for incorporation, organization of corporate activity, secretarial services and other services as listed in art. 4, para. 16 of the MAMLA are obliged to enter in a public register at the Ministry of Justice and to provide information about identification, registered address, type of activities which the entity executes by occupation, any amendments in the said circumstances. A new ordinance regulating the entry requirements is to be adopted.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.