The implementation of the Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) Register for Companies and other legal entities in Cyprus has been fully transposed into national law the Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament (the 4th AML Directive).
On 16 December 2020, the Council of Ministers appointed the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver (the RoC) as the competent authority to keep the Ultimate Beneficial Owner Register in Cyprus concerning companies and other legal persons. Once the collected information is transferred to the platform, their access will be based on the provisions of the 5th European Directive (EU 2018/843) of the European Parliament and Council of 30 May 2018, concerning the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. The data collection for companies will begin on 16 March 2021 and the deadline for submissions is 16 September 2021.
For the purposes of the AML Law, a ‘beneficial owner’ or “UBO” means a natural person who ultimately owns or controls the entity concerned and includes at least:
(a) in the case of Cyprus private companies, the natural persons who ultimately own or control the company through direct or indirect ownership of a sufficient percentage of shares (typically 25%) or voting rights or ownership interest in that entity, or through control via other means;
(b) in the case of trusts:
- the settlor
- the trustees
- the protector, if any
- the beneficiaries (or the class of persons in whose main interest the legal arrangement or entity is set up or operates, as applicable)
- any other natural person exercising ultimate control over the trust.
Once in full operation, the beneficial owners’ register will be accessible:
a) For Companies by the general public, and
b) For Trusts by competent authorities, obliged entities in the context of performing their due diligence obligations and any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest.
Companies are invited to start collecting the above-mentioned information, which they should already have in their files, based on the provisions of article 61(A) of the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law of 2007, as amended. Guidelines expanding on the UBO registration process and relevant penalties for non-compliance are expected to follow in due course.
The AML Law defines ‘legitimate interest’ as meaning the interest of a person with respect to the suppression of money laundering activities and the offences prescribed under applicable legislation.
We are at your disposal should you require any further information, clarifications or assistance.