At long last – the introduction of a central Beneficial Ownership Register in Cyprus

Sara Gunnervik
Sara Gunnervik
Partner, Office Managing Partner Larnaca
At long last – the introduction of a central Beneficial Ownership Register in Cyprus

Following the transposition of the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, due already in 2017, the Cypriot ‘Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Laws of 2007 to 2019’ (the Law) provides for the maintenance of a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and other Legal Entities (the Register) in Cyprus.

Following the transposition of the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive, due already in 2017, the Cypriot ‘Preventing and Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Laws of 2007 to 2019’ (the Law) provides for the maintenance of a Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and other Legal Entities (the Register) in Cyprus.

 

On the 16th December 2020, the Council of Ministers decided that the Registrar of Companies (the Registrar) is the responsible authority for maintaining the Register, and to give the Registrar the authorisation to collect information about the individual beneficial owner(s) of companies and other legal entities through an interim information system which has been developed by the Registrar for these purposes.

 

Commencement for the data collection was initially set for Monday, 18th January 2021. This date was subsequently postponed to Monday 22nd of February 2021. As from this date on, companies and other legal entities have until 19th July 2021 to provide the Registrar with the requested information regarding the ultimate beneficial owner(s) of the relevant entities.

 

Companies are encouraged to start collecting the relevant information, which they should already have in their possession, on the basis of the provisions of Section 61(A) of the Law.

 

Access to the register is for the time being only granted to the competent authorities upon request to the Registrar of Companies.

 

It should be noted that the current system is only a temporary solution – a final one is expected to be developed in the second half of 2021 at the earliest. The collected data will at that stage be transferred to the final system and it is anticipated that access will in accordance with the provisions of the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive be accessible to competent authorities and financial intelligence units, obliged entities in the context of performing due diligence duties (such as banks, notaries and lawyers) and persons or organisations that demonstrate a legitimate interest.

 

The Registrar will make further information and guidance on the online submission and operation of the Register available alongside with the commencement of the Register’s operation. Until such information has been published it is not known what exact information will be requested and how the system operates.  

 

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