Following the Obstruction and Combating Money Laundering Activities Law of 2007-2019 as amended in 2018 voted by the Cyprus Parliament, a legislation which resulted from the mandatory 4th European AML Directive (EE 2015/849) for the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering activities or for the financing of terrorism, we would like to inform you that the Cyprus Council of Ministers has appointed recently the Cyprus registrar of Companies as the appropriate governmental department to proceed with the establishment of a central registry of beneficial ownership of companies and other legal entities existing in its records in Cyprus. The collection of all the necessary information will begin on 16/03/2021 on a platform which will be established by then by the registrar and is expected to be completed in the following 6 months.
Beneficial owners of companies are defined as natural persons with a 25 per cent direct or indirect ownership of shares or voting rights, except for publicly listed companies. For trusts, the beneficial owners are the settlor, trustees, protector, beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries, or any other natural person exercising ultimate control over the trust.
Because the registry is being implemented under 4AMLD, and not the EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD), it will not be available to the public. This situation is unlikely to change until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
In the meantime, access will be restricted to competent authorities such as the Tax Department, MOKAS, the police and the Customs office. Ultimately, it will be accessible to any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest, as set out in 5th AMLD. However, under Cyprus’ anti-money laundering laws the jurisdiction’s implementation will restrict ‘legitimate interest’ to mean suppression of money laundering activities and related offenses
The information to be provided relating to the beneficial owners will include name, month and year of birth, country of residence and nationality. Any other information connected to fees to be charged and which companies have to upload the relevant information (active companies only or under dissolution as well etc) and any other details will be announced by the registrar in due time.
For more information please contact Kyriakos Antoniou & Associates LLC at 00357 25206919 or send us an e-mail at [email protected]