Press release - DC007(2014)

Council of Europe report calls on Bulgaria to improve legislation on money laundering

Strasbourg, 21.01.2014 – In a report published today, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering Committee (MONEYVAL) calls on Bulgaria to improve legislation on money laundering.

The report sets out an analysis of the implementation of international and European standards. The main findings can be summed-up as follows:

· In 2010 a risk analysis was carried out by the Bulgarian authorities on the major sectors of the economy. The greatest risk of money laundering comes from multinational organised crime groups who use the Bulgarian financial system for placement and layering of criminal assets acquired abroad;
· The money laundering offence is broadly in line with international standards. However, Bulgarian legislation still needs to extend the list of predicate offences to include all categories of piracy, market manipulation and insider trading, as well as to cover all the aspects of terrorism financing. In terms of effectiveness the Bulgarian authorities have achieved final convictions on a number of stand-alone money laundering cases;
· The Bulgarian authorities are encouraged to apply criminal sanctions for money laundering to legal persons and to extend the scope of the terrorist financing offence to comply fully with international standards;
· The Bulgarian legal framework for the confiscation regime provides for a wide range of measures to confiscate the proceeds of crime. However, compared with the estimated economic loss of criminal offences of economic nature, the total value of confiscated assets remains low and the authorities are encouraged to place greater emphasis on confiscating criminally-derived funds;
· The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been relocated from the Ministry of Finance to the State Agency for National Security. It nevertheless continues to function as an administrative FIU. The FIU appears to be operationally independent and to function efficiently, cooperating effectively with other agencies within Bulgaria;
· Since the third round evaluation, Bulgaria has acted to improve the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legal and regulatory framework on preventive measures which are now broadly in line with international standards. However, the definition of beneficial owner is limited and the authorities are encouraged to address this issue. The financial sector demonstrated a high level of understanding of their obligations with regard to the identification and verification of the identity of customers;
· The supervision and monitoring of the implementation of the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism requirements is well developed in Bulgaria and executed twofold: by the general supervisory bodies, and by the Financial Intelligence Unit;
· MONEYVAL notes that Bulgaria can provide a wide range of mutual legal assistance and co-operation, the legal framework for which is well established.

MONEYVAL will continue to monitor implementation of the recommendations by Bulgaria through its regular procedures, which require the country to submit a follow up report by September 2015.

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The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism (MONEYVAL) is a Council of Europe body that assesses compliance with the relevant international and European standards to counter money laundering and terrorist financing, and makes recommendations to national authorities. 28 Council of Europe member states are currently subject to MONEYVAL’s evaluation procedures, as well as Israel, the Holy See (including the Vatican City State) and the United Kingdom’s Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey.

Contact: Can Fisek, Media officer, Tel. +33 3 88 41 30 41

Council of Europe Directorate of Communications
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11
pressunit@coe.int

www.coe.int



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