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Bulgaria is now compliant with AML global standards

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According to the Council of Europe, Bulgaria has strengthened its anti-money laundering rules and tightened oversight of gambling.

Moneyval’s follow-up study found that Bulgaria had improved the measures it took to combat money laundering and financing terrorism, since an unfavorable report on mutual evaluation was released in 2022. Moneyval placed Bulgaria in its procedures to improve compliance two years ago. The Council of Europe is required to work closely with each country in order to correct AML failures.

Moneyval discovered that Bulgaria has now largely or fully complied with 13 of the 40 recommendations applicable by Financial Action Task Force. At least 13 of the 40 recommendations are partially or fully implemented in Bulgaria.

Due diligence for customers in designated non-professional businesses and professions is now compliant. The gambling, casino and real estate sectors are all included.

Moneyval issued a press release that said, “Bulgaria has strengthened its anti-money laundering systems and countering terrorist financing since the adoption of their mutual evaluation report on May 20, 2022.”

Moneyval, a Council of Europe permanent monitoring organization, is charged with assessing the compliance of international standards for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorist activities.

A new AML Monitoring Unit in Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, the National Revenue Agency has increased its gambling oversight with the establishment of a separate AML division.

It will also enforce regulations such as verifying customers, collecting documentation and assessing the risk of money laundering and terrorist funding. The unit will monitor transactions, operations and flagged customers as suspect and exchange information with other authorities.

This unit is part of the NRA. The department will take over the regulation of gambling in Bulgaria after the dissolution of the State Commission on Gambling.

Launch of the AML Unit follows Bulgaria’s National Money Laundering Risk Assessment, which highlighted deficiencies in a variety of sectors.

Bulgarian Market continues to grow

At the start of this year, the Bulgarian gambling industry was predicted to generate BGN200m (PS88m/EUR102.3m/$111.7m) for the country’s budget in 2024.

The gambling industry has contributed over BGN300m to Bulgaria’s state budget in the past two years. Changes to Bulgaria’s tax system could increase its contribution to financial contributions.

The fee to obtain a license has increased by 300%. The tax on income also increased from 15% to a whopping 20%.

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