FAQ
23 Nov, 2022

EU Court of Justice rules that public access to UBO Registers is invalid

Categories: Uncategorized

On 22nd November 2022, Koen Lenaerts, President of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), delivered the judgment of the CJEU in the joined cases[1] on the access to information and the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, stating that the provision of the 5th EU AML Directive 2018/843 amending the 4th EU AML Directive 2015/849[2]  whereby the information on the beneficial ownership of companies incorporated within the territory of the Member States of the European Union is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public is invalid.

Quoting the Press Release No 188/22 of the CJEU, “The interference with the rights guaranteed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) entailed by that measure is neither limited to what is strictly necessary nor proportionate to the objective pursued. According to the Court, the general public’s access to information on beneficial ownership constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, enshrined in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter, respectively. Indeed, the information disclosed enables a potentially unlimited number of persons to find out about the material and financial situation of a beneficial owner. Furthermore, the potential consequences for the data subjects resulting from possible abuse of their personal data are exacerbated by the fact that, once those data have been made available to the general public, they can not only be freely consulted, but also retained and disseminated.”

Announcement with regard to access to Cyprus Beneficial Ownership Register (BO Register) for the general public is expected to be published shortly by the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property of the Republic of Cyprus (RoC).

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[1] Luxembourg Business Registers (C-37/20) and Sovim (C-601/20)

[2] Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC (OJ 2015 L 141, p. 73), as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 (OJ 2018 L 156, p. 43).