Bulgaria’s central bank: All banks in Bulgaria have taken restrictive measures regarding the entities sanctioned under Magnitsky Act

Bulgaria’s central bank: All banks in Bulgaria have taken restrictive measures regarding the entities sanctioned under Magnitsky Act

In connection with inquiries and comments on the application of restrictive measures against persons included in the sanctions list of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department, the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) informed the following:

• The BNB applies restrictive measures in transactions and operations in accordance with the established internal rules and procedures and the requirements of the Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act.

• According to information requested by banks and received by BNB, all banks in the country with open accounts and business relationships with the above-mentioned persons have already taken the necessary restrictive measures, including blocking accounts, blocking cards, freezing of assets and closing accounts. Some of these measures were taken in advance on other grounds before the publication of the OFAC list.

• The established internal rules and procedures in the banks and the current regulatory framework allow for the application of the procedure provided for in the Anti-Money Laundering Measures Act. This procedure includes notification by the banks to the Financial Intelligence Directorate of the State Agency for National Security (SANS), suspension by SANS of a certain operation or transaction for a period of up to 5 working days, notification by SANS to the Prosecutor's office, request to the relevant court by the Prosecutor's office for imposition of seizure or restraint, ruling by the court within 24 hours.

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• In addition, BNB has sent instructions to all banks for additional actions and measures regarding the clients of the banks included in OFAC lists or similar lists of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria.

• BNB has informed the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior and SANS about the instructions sent to the banks.

BNB also stressed the need to speed up the preparation of a legislative decision related to the implementation of similar restrictive measures taken by other countries, at national level, with a view to its submission, without further delay, in the next National Assembly.

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