As a result of the 4th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD4), all EU Member States are required to put into national law provisions in respect of beneficial ownership information for corporate and legal entities.
As a result of AMLD4, on 15 November 2016, Ireland introduced Statutory Instrument No 560 of 2016, which in summary provides that:
• Companies (save for listed entities) must hold in a register, adequate, accurate and current information of their beneficial owners, which includes information such as the person’s name, date of birth, nationality, residential address and the nature and extent of the interest held.
• A “beneficial owner”, is a natural person (or persons) ultimately owning or controlling directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares or voting rights of a company, or who have the ability to exercise direct influence over a company.
• If the company has no beneficial owners, or if after all possible means have been exhausted to determine their identity and none can be identified, the names of the directors of the company must be entered in the company’s beneficial ownership register.
• Details of the beneficial owners must be sent to the newly appointed Registrar of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and Industrial and Provident Societies, through a yet to be released online portal. We understand this portal should be operational within the next few months. It is not yet clear whether the portal will be accessible by the general public.
• Non-compliance is a criminal offence with fines of up to €5,000 against the company and/or non-responsive beneficial owners. Test prosecutions are expected.
Should you have any queries or wish to discuss the implications of the new beneficial ownership requirements please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.