On July 12, 2016, Liechtenstein released a 193-page consultation on the implementation of a beneficial ownership registry in line with the Fourth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (EU 2015/849). Companies would have to disclose the identities of their ultimate owners under a proposal to come in line with European anti-money laundering recommendations. See BEPS Action 12. Liechtenstein is not an EU member country, but as a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), it is required to transpose this directive into its national legislation. It is not required to make the register public.
The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive says that money laundering and terrorist financing are frequently carried out in an international context, and the measures adopted by the EU should be compatible with actions undertaken in the international community. The EU actions should take into account the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
“The need for accurate and up-to-date information on the beneficial owner is a key factor in tracing criminals who might otherwise hide their identity behind a corporate structure. Member States should therefore ensure that entities incorporated within their territory in accordance with national law obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, in addition to basic information such as the company name and address and proof of incorporation and legal ownership. With a view to enhancing transparency in order to combat the misuse of legal entities, Member States should ensure that beneficial ownership information is stored in a central register located outside the company, in full compliance with Union law.”
Comments on the proposal are due August 26, 2016.
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