Under recent amendments to the Bulgarian Anti-Money Laundering Act ("AMLA") promulgated and entered into force on 26 January 2021 (State Gazette, issue No. 7/2021), wholesale traders are excluded from the list of entities obliged to apply the anti-money laundering measures. The purpose of the amendment is to reduce administrative and financial burden and to remedy the Bulgarian wholesale traders' disadvantaged position as compared to their competitors from other EU Member States (wholesaler trades do not necessarily fall within the scope of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, transposed in the AMLA). This means that Bulgarian wholesale traders will no longer have to comply with requirements concerning customer due diligence, storage and disclosure of information about suspicious transactions to the competent authorities. Traders in arms, oil and petroleum products remain within the scope of the AMLA.
Definition of a wholesale trader
As there is no legal definition of the term wholesale trader, the State Agency for National Security issued guidance according to which traders registered in the Commercial Register under the line of business "wholesale trade" and engaged in the sale and purchase of goods and services (where the buyer intends to re-sell the goods or services) were regarded as subjected to the AMLA. According to the amendments to the AMLA as of May 2019, it was explicitly specified that the category of persons under Art. 4, item 19 does not include the producers when they sell the goods they produced (Section 1a of the Supplementary Provisions of the AMLA).