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Jun 02, 2023 10:57 EEST
June 2 (SeeNews) - The European Commission said it is sending a letter of formal notice to Bulgaria, the first step of opening an infringement procedure, requesting the country to correctly transpose into national legislation the EU's fifth anti-money laundering directive adopted in 2018.
Although Bulgaria had already informed the Commission that the directive was transposed, the EU executive found several instances in which the national legislation did not comply with the European regulations, the Commission said in a statement on Thursday after publishing its June package of infringement decisions.
These cases relate to a missing obligation to register, license or regulate services providers, the lack of a mechanism to solve discrepancies of information provided by the national beneficial ownership register that is part of the commercial register as well as insufficient proper application of the concepts of "establishment" or "residence" serving to identify those who are obliged to give information on beneficial ownership.
"Legislative gaps occurring in one member state have an impact on the EU as a whole. EU rules should be implemented and supervised efficiently in order to combat crime and protect our financial system," the Commission noted.
Bulgaria will have two months to notify the EU executive of appropriate steps taken in correcting national law to adequately reflect the provisions of the directive. Should Bulgaria fail to send a satisfactory response to the Commission within the stipulated deadline, the EU executive will consider issuing Bulgaria with a reasoned opinion, a formal request for compliance before referral of the matter to the European Court.
In late 2020, Bulgaria adopted a law aiming to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act in line with EU rules in order to prevent the use of the financial system for the purpose of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Last year, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body Moneyval recommended to Bulgaria to urgently review policies and take steps to increase the transparency of the beneficial ownership regime.
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