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Trust European parliament to end beneficial anonymity

27 February 2014

On 20 February 2014 the European Parliament issued a press release confirming that it had decided that the beneficiaries of companies and trusts would have to be listed in public registers in EU countries under updated draft anti-money laundering rules.

On the one hand the outcome of the decision is a big step forward in the  fight against tax evasion and a clear call for transparency but on the other hand by approving the establishment of beneficial ownership registers there is a risk that this may damage the privacy of beneficiaries whose personal data may be available to those who might make most misuse of it.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD), as amended by members of the European Parliament, public central registers would list information on the ultimate beneficial owners of all sorts of legal arrangements, including companies, foundations and trusts.

The rules will apply to banks and financial institutions as well as auditors, lawyers, accountants, notaries, tax advisors, asset managers, trusts and real estate agents.

The overall fine detail will be left to each Member State once the AMLD amendments are in force.

It is anticipated that the amended AMLD will be put to a vote by the European Parliament as a whole in March 2014 with a view to the legislation being completed by the end of 2014.

This article was written by Robert Bond.

For more information contact Robert on +44 (0)20 7427 6660 or robert.bond@crsblaw.com