Public accessibility UBO register further expanded

By Madelon Stevens & Yvette Hermans

Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive

On 19 December 2017, the European Commission published a revision of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2015/849) with the result: public access to the national (‘ultimate beneficial owners’) UBO registers and interconnection of these register within the EU.

The fourth anti-money laundering directive yet created obligations in the area of ​​identifying UBOs of legal entities and legal constructions, storing that information and the different levels of access to the registers. The revision aims to go even further than the current Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

  • The UBO register of companies and legal entities operating in the European Union becomes publicly accessible. A legitimate interest in accessing the UBO register is no longer necessary;
  • For trusts and similar legal constructions, a separate UBO register is made mandatory, which only becomes accessible to persons with a legitimate interest;
  • In order to increase cooperation between the authorities of the different Member States, national registers will be better aligned with the registers of Member States;
  • Information about bank accounts, safes (‘safe deposit boxes’) and ownership of immovable property must be recorded.

Dutch UBO Register

On 31 March 2017, the Netherlands offered the UBO register bill for consultation. The Netherlands is lagging behind the implementation of the fourth anti-money laundering directive. At the moment it is still unclear how the Dutch UBO register will exactly look like, but it is expected that the UBO register will be implemented in Dutch legislation before the summer of 2018. As far as the implementation of the current revision is concerned, it should be noted that it must at first be approved by the Council and the European Parliament. The tightened rules will then probably apply to the UBO register for companies and legal entities by the end of 2019, and for trusts and similar legal constructions in early 2020.

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