DRP LEGAL ALERT – Changes in the Bulgarian Measures Against Money Laundering Act


July 2023

Bulgarian Parliament adopted amendments in Bulgarian Measures Against Money Laundering Act (“MAMLA”) on 14th July 2023. The amendments are intended to address inaccuracies in the implementation of Directive (EU) 2018/843 in the national anti-money laundering (“AML”) legislation, which have been identified in the course of the European Commission’s review. They are also essential for conforming to the MONEYVAL Recommendations.



Below you may find a highlight of the key amendments in the MAMLA.


I. New Mandatory Registration of Obliged Entities/Persons under Art. 4, item 16 of the MAMLA

  • The amendment establishes a new requirement for obliged entities/persons under Art. 4, item 16 of the MAMLA[1] to register in a new public electronic register held with the Minister of Justice;
  • The register is to start work as of 16.01.2024;
  • The procedure and state fees for registration are to be determined by an ordinance and a tariff to be adopted by 16.01.2024;
  • The obliged entities/persons are to apply for registration within 2 months as of entry into force of the new ordinance;
  • The MAMLA provides for monetary sanctions in case of non-compliance with the obligation for registration.

II. New Requirements for Some of the Obliged Persons under art. 4 of the MAMLA

  • The amendment establishes additional requirements for compliance with the MAMLA in respect of: (i) the obliged persons under Art. 4, items 15, 16 and 18 of the MAMLA and (ii) the procurators, controlling/managing individuals, limited liability shareholders and beneficial owners of the obliged entities under Art. 4, items 15, 16 and 18 of the MAMLA[2].
  • The State Agency for National Security (“SANS”) is competent to supervise the compliance of the obliged persons by: (i) checking for their compliance ex officio – for part of the circumstances and (ii) checking the declarations that the obliged persons are to keep in case of on-site inspection – for other part of the circumstances;
  • This new obligation takes effect as of 14.07.2023.

III. Amendments and Supplements Regarding KYC Checks

  • The obliged entities/persons under Art. 4 of the MAMLA are to perform a know-your-customer check (“KYC”) also in cases of occasional operation/transactions of virtual currency exchange and official currency exchange without gold backing, with a value equal to or exceeding EUR 1,000. This amendment is effective as of 14.07.2023;
  • The obliged entities/persons under Art. 4 of the MAMLA can perform identification checks of legal entities in official public registers held in third counties[3] if these countries meet the requirements for AML and non-financing of terrorism standards of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”). This amendment is effective as of 14.07.2023;
  • Legal representatives and proxies of clients – physical persons shall be subject to identification and checks for their representative powers according to the same procedure which applies for legal representatives and proxies of clients – legal entities. This amendment is effective as of 14.07.2023.

IV. New Requirements in the Procedure for Registration of Beneficial Owners with the Registry Agency

  • Obliged entities who apply for registration of their beneficial owner(s) are to present documents to the Registry Agency based on which it can be established that the indicated persons actually fall in the statutory definition of a beneficial owner;
  • New declaration-template for beneficial owners is to be approved by 16.10.2023 with the planned amendment of the Rules for Application of the MAMLA.

V. New Procedure for Correction of Discrepancies regarding Registered Beneficial Owners

  • All obliged entities/persons under Art. 4 of the MAMLA, as well as the authorities such as the National Revenue Agency, SANS, Ministry of the Interior, etc., are to notify the Registry Agency in case of established discrepancy between the data that they collect in the course of their work and the data about the beneficial owners of the respective legal entity registered in the batch at the Registry Agency. The notification entails provision of documents evidencing the claimed discrepancy;
  • This new obligation for notification takes effect as of 16.07.2024;
  • In case of non-compliance with the obligation for notification, the general provisions for monetary sanctions apply as per the MAMLA;
  • Following the receipt of such notification, the Registry Agency: (i) registers the received notification for discrepancy in the batch of the legal entity and (ii) notifies the legal entity about it;
  • The legal entity has 7 days to either apply for correction of the registered data regarding its beneficial owner(s) or to apply for deletion of the notification for discrepancy. The application is to be supported with documents evidencing the statements of the legal entity;
  • Non-compliance with this obligation of the legal entity is subject to monetary sanction under the MAMLA. Such sanction is reimposed on monthly basis until due compliance with the obligation to submit the required application.

VI. Additional Requirements to Supplement the Internal Rules of the Obliged Entitles/Persons under Art. 4 of the MAMLA

As of 14.07.2023 the internal rules of the obliged entitles/persons are also to include more detailed information such as the following:

  • to specify clear criteria for identifying suspicious clients and suspicious operations or transactions related to money laundering;
  • to specify rules of organization and of work of the specialized units (if there are such), policies and procedures for verifying the professional competence and reliability of the personnel in such specialized units;
  • to specify policies and procedures for verifying the professional competence and reliability in the recruitment and ongoing assessment of the staff whose duties, may be relevant to the control and prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing, and the rules for the training of such staff; etc.

This material represents a high-level overview of the recent key amendments concerning the measures against money laundering. This legal alert shall not be construed as legal or other professional advice for any specific case.

For more information and legal assistance regarding the above, please contact us at: Gergana.Chushkova@drp-legal.com and Dimitar.Rumenchev@drp-legal.com.

[1] These are entities/persons performing professionally any of the explicitly specified services which in general include organizational and management services, provision of address, etc.

[2] The activities in question concern the provision of different services such as legal services, organizational and management services, provision of address and brokerage in real estate and renting transactions.

[3] Meaning countries outside the EU.

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