- Beneficial Ownership Register- under 4th Money Laundering Directive (MLD4)- Article 30(1) transposed into Irish Law from 15th November.
- Requires that all Irish Companies-( Relevant Entities) obtain, and hold “adequate, accurate and current” information on their beneficial owners in a beneficial ownership register (the Register).
- For the purposes of MLD4 a “beneficial owner” is an individual who ultimately owns or controls the Relevant Entity.
- “Beneficial Ownership” in MLD4 differs significantly from the commonly-used and understood concept of “beneficial ownership” in company law.
- Under MLD4, an individual can be a beneficial owner of an entity if he directly (or indirectly through other companies) holds > 25% of the shares in that entity, or otherwise directly (or indirectly through other companies) controls >25% of that entity.
- If the Relevant Entity either cannot identify an individual who is a beneficial owner, or identifies an individual who may be a beneficial owner, but cannot be certain of this, the Relevant Entity must instead list its “senior managing officials” (i.e. its directors and CEO) in its Register as being its beneficial owners.
- It must also keep a record of the steps that it took to identify its beneficial owners.
- Article 30 has been “Transposed early” into Irish Law because when MLD4 is fully transposed into Irish law (expected to happen in June 2017), Ireland must ensure that information on the beneficial owners of Irish Relevant Entities is held in a centralised register (the Central Register) (which will probably be established and maintained by the CRO). The early transposition of Article 30 is to ensure that all Irish Relevant Entities have the required beneficial ownership ready to be passed to the operator of the Central Register.
- The Central Register Register must be capable of being accessed in a “timely and unrestricted” manner by competent authorities and “Financial Intelligence Units”, without alerting the Relevant Entity, and those carrying out CDD under MLD4 must also be able to access the Central Register in a timely manner.
Failure (by Relevant Entity or relevant individuals) to comply is a criminal offence.
Beneficial Ownership - 2017 Statutory instrument 560 of 2016 transposes the first sub-paragraph of Article 30(1) of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD). The rationale for transposing this provision in advance of the rest of the 4AMLD is that in order for the central register of beneficial ownership (required by Article 33(3) of 4AMLD) to be effective from as early a date as possible after full transposition, corporate entities will need to initially gather the necessary beneficial ownership data and to record same in their own corporate beneficial ownership registers.