With a decision of the Council of Ministers dated 16.12.2020, transposing the 4th AML Directive of the EU 2015/849 into national law, the green light for the establishment of a central registry of ultimate beneficial owners have been given.
Acting on the basis of a relevant proposal of the “”Advisory Authority for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing”, which was made pursuant to the provisions of Article 57 (b) of ” on Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Laws from 2007 to 2019” the Council of Ministers “decided to:
- Appoint the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver of the Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry, as the competent authority for the maintenance of the central register of ultimate beneficial owns of companies and other legal entities and
- Authorise the Registrar to collect information about the ultimate beneficial owners and other legal entities through the interim system that has been developed.
Based on the above, the Department of Companies of the said Ministry has announced that the collection of information will commence on the 18.01.2021.
From this date, companies will be granted a grace period of 6 months (i.e. until 19/7/2021) for submitting relevant information into the system. It is emphasised that the system that has been developed is an interim solution and access to it is only permissible to competent authorities upon submission of a formal request o the Registrar.
The information collected will be transferred into a final system solution to be developed in the second half of 2021 and access to it will be based on the provisions of the 5th European Directive (EU 2018/843) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018, concerning the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.
Companies are urged to start collecting the above information which they should already have in their possession, based on the provisions of article 61 (A) of the “On Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law of 2007, as amended. In addition, such data are, and should also, be kept by liable entities that provide services to companies under the provisions of Articles 2A (d), 60 and 61 of the above Law in the context of the exercise of due diligence measures and on the basis of the provisions of the ‘Fiduciaries Laws’ of 2012 to 2020. Where necessary, seeking legal advice is recommended.
More information will be provided in due course by the Registrar.
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