Saturday, October 31, 2020

Bulgaria Drafts Bill Obliging Anti-Money Laundering Programs at Crypto Platforms

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A draft bill designed to bring Bulgaria in line with anti-money laundering regimes in Europe and smooth the country’s bid to join the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II) and Banking Union has passed first reading in the Bulgarian parliament, Kinstellar reports.

According to the outlet, Directive 2018/843 (AMLD5):

“…is expected to be voted into law in the coming months to ensure that, from the AML standpoint, there are no obstacles against Bulgaria joining the Eurozone.”

Related: Bulgaria: Officials accepted bribes in bitcoin for issuing Bulgarians passports

The bill adds notable features to AMLD4, the country’s previous legistlation, including, “measures so as to capture…cryptocurrency platforms, digital wallet providers, art galleries and other traders and intermediaries in the trade of artwork for transaction values of EUR 10,000 or more.”

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If the directive passes in its current form:

“Bulgaria-based platforms for the exchange of cryptocurrencies and digital wallet providers will be required to comply with the full scope of anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing measures. This includes, but is not limited to, carrying out risk assessments; performing know-your-customer checks; introducing and abiding by bespoke internal rules, policies, procedures and processes for the prevention and control of money laundering and terrorism financing; maintaining meticulous records; and reporting suspicious transactions to the competent authorities.”

Obligations and the firms beholden to them suggest Bulgarian agencies may have to up their enforcement capacities, Kinstellar writes.

The draft bill even proposes, “a broader list of obliged entities than originally required by AMLD4 (such as wholesalers, traders of weapons, petroleum and petroleum products, and non-profit organisations, to name a few)…(which) raises questions about the supervisory capabilities of the local authorities.”

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In November of last year, the Head of the Bulgarian State Agency for Bulgarians Abroad, Petar Haralampiev was charged with selling up to 30 EU passports per week for bitcoins.

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