Suspension of access to the Beneficial Owners register for the general public
In its judgement on the 22nd of November 2022 on the joint cases C-37/20 and C-601/20, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEE) renders invalid-in light of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union- Article 1, point 15(c) of Directive (EU) 2018/843 relating to anti-money laundering, through which Member States were obligated to ensure that all relevant information relating to the beneficial ownership of corporate and other legal entities that had been incorporated within its territory were available and accessible to the public.More specifically, the Court found a major interference between the right of public access to beneficial ownership information and Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter which relate to Respect for private and family life and Protection of personal data respectively.
Moreover, the Court found that despite the fact that the aim of the measure is to limit money-laundering through increased transparency which in itself constitutes an objective of general interest, the interference and potential consequences of the data subjects resulting from the abuse of their personal data by third parties that are able to access that information, poses a threat that is neither proportionate or strictly necessary to the objective in question.
In light of the above, the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property has announced that access to the Register of Beneficial Owners for the general public has been suspended as of the 23rdof November 2022.
The Department has also clarified that the relevant information to the competent and supervisory authorities and the Unit as referred in article 12 of Directive for the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Beneficial Owners) of 2021 and amending Directive R.A.A. 116/2022,will continue to be provided with the applicable procedure through the Department.
In addition,the relevant information will, also continue to be provided to the obliged entities, with the applicable procedure by submitting additionally a solemn declaration confirming that the information on the Beneficial Owners is requested within the context of performing customer due diligence. It should be noted that the obligation of companies and partnerships to submit and update their Beneficial Owners information is not affected and remains valid.
Our firm is able to assist and provide further information and clarifications for the above recent developments. Feel free to contact our firm A. & E. C. Emilianides, C. Katsaros & Associates LLC via email at email@example.com or via telephone at 22676752.