Cyprus has maintained information on shareholders of Cypriot companies for many years as part of the data filed with the Cyprus Registrar of Companies, as well as information on ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs).
The UBO is always a specific natural person – in accordance with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations, beneficial owner refers to the natural person(s) who ultimately* owns or controls a customer** and/or the natural person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted. It also includes those persons who exercise ultimate effective control over a legal person or arrangement. As of 18th May 2018, the percentage of ownership/control in a corporate entity held by a natural person to indicate the direct ownership and qualify as the Beneficial Owner in Cyprus was increased from 10%+1 share to 25%+1 share.
Company directors and secretaries (usually service providers in case of foreign interest companies) have a legal obligation to maintain and update UBO information on the companies or trusts with which they are involved under AML & CFT legislation and the Law Regulating Companies Providing Administrative Services and Related Matters 2012.
However, under the directive’s requirement for ultimate beneficial owner registers:
The Registry has been scheduled to launch in Cyprus in January 2020.
To ensure financial sector legislation and practices are aligned with international standards, as well as to identify threats and vulnerabilities, the Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus cooperate with foreign supervisory authorities, in compliance with the FATF Recommendations. Cyprus’ national AML & CFT Law is fully aligned with the 4th EU AML Directive. Cyprus is in full adherence with sanctions issued by the EU, the UN, and the US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
* Reference to ultimately owns or controls and ultimate effective control refer to situations in which ownership/control is exercised through a chain of ownership or by means of control other than direct control.
** This definition should also apply to beneficial owner or a beneficiary under a life or other investment linked insurance policy.