The Department of the Registrar of Companies has recently announced that access to the Cyprus UBO Register has been restored for obliged entities that have AML duties pursuant to Cyprus law.
This announcement follows the suspension of access to the Cyprus UBO Register, which was announced on 28 November 2022 as a result of the issuance of the judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in joined cases C-37/20 and C-601/20 on 22 November 2022. The CJEU held that Article 1, point 15(c) of Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and the Council, of 30th May 2018 (the 5th AML directive AML Directive), whereby Member States must ensure that the information on the beneficial ownership of corporate and other legal entities incorporated within their territory is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public, is invalid. It also held that 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 and it is illegal as being disproportionate and contrary to the rights of privacy and protection of personal data under Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Back in March 2021, the Registrar of Companies had established the Ultimate Beneficial Owner Register for corporate and other legal entities in order to strengthen the framework for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing activities. All Cyprus companies are obliged to comply with the relevant legislative framework and submit the details of UBO(s).
The Department of the Registrar of Companies, recognising that obliged entitles which have anti-money laundering duties under the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law of 2007 (188(I)/2007) (the Cyprus AML Law) have a legitimate interest in accessing the relevant information, has restored access to the Cyprus UBO Register to those entities. Obliged entities include auditors, lawyers, administrative service providers providing fiduciary services and financial institutions. The said professionals are now entitled to request and receive beneficial ownership information in the context of performing their due diligence obligations pursuant to the Cyprus AML Law. Access is given subject to the filing of an official declaration by the obliged entity which confirms that they are an obliged entity pursuant to the Cyprus AML Law and that the request relates to the performance of their anti-money laundering duties. Any request which is not accompanied by the said declaration is rejected.