Following intense negotiations including discussions held at the AME Event on 3rd December between MEPs, the Italian Presidency and the European Commission, a deal has been agreed yesterday evening, 16th December.
Statements from the co-rapporteurs:
”For years, criminals in Europe have used the anonymity of offshore companies and accounts to obscure their financial dealings. Creating registers of beneficial ownership will help to lift the veil of secrecy of offshore accounts and greatly aid the fight against money laundering and blatant tax evasion”, said ECON rapporteur MEP Krišjānis Kariņš (EPP, LV).
”The new rules agreed today will provide much greater transparency of the shadowy business structures that are at the heart of money laundering schemes, as well as schemes used by businesses to avoid their tax responsibility”, added LIBE Committee rapporteur Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA).
The central registers would be accessible to the competent authorities and their financial intelligence units (without any restriction), to “obliged entities” (such as banks conducting their “customer due diligence” duties), and also to the public, which may be subject to online registration of the person and to the payment of a fee to cover administrative costs.Any person or organisation who can demonstrate a “legitimate interest”, such as investigative journalists and other concerned citizens, would also be able to access beneficial ownership information such as the beneficial owner’s name, month and year of birth, nationality, residency and details on ownership. Any exemption to the access provided by member states would be possible only on a case-by-case basis in exceptional circumstances.
Further information to follow