21st February 2014

End of secret company ownership

The MEPs in the Economic and Monetary Affairs committee have voted overwhelmingly, and across the political spectrum, in favor of new anti-money laundering rules proposed by the Commission, amending them with an important measure – publicly accessible registers of companies´ and trusts´ owners. Such registers will be established by the Member States and will be interconnected. They will be opened to the public. All the banks and financial institutions, auditors, lawyers, accountants, notaries, tax advisors, asset managers, trusts and real estate agents will have to provide the names of their respective owners to the registers. Providing false or inacurate data will be regarded the same way as actual money laundering in terms of criminal responsibility. This step documents EU´s determination to fight money laundering. Secretly-owned off-shore companies are used for 70% of money laundering and only about 1% is detected, effective prosecution rate being even lower. The directive, which includes also other anti-laundering measures, will be voted on by the MEPs during the next plenary session and negotiations on its final version with the Member States in the Council are expected to begin in autumn.

For more information, click here and here.

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic