By means of L.N 158 of 2019 new amendments to the Register of Beneficial Owners Regulations (the "Regulations") under the Companies Act (Cap. 386) were enacted on the 12th of July 2019 in order to reflect the changes brought about by Directive (EU) 2018/843 ("5th AMLD"). These amendments include the following:
Records of Beneficial Owners
Any natural person who reasonably believes that he is a beneficial owner of a company, now has the responsibility to himself provide to the company, personal and other information as required by the Regulations.
Access to Information on Beneficial Owners
A new addition to Article 7 of the Regulations states that now, any member of the general public can access information on the beneficial owners of a registered company, albeit limited to the name, month and year of birth, nationality, country of residence and his extent of beneficial interest of the company. This provision will be effective as from the 1st of January 2020.
Previously the exception to prevent the granting of access to this information where it would expose the beneficial owner to a number of risks as listed in the Regulations, was unlimited. With the new amendments, credit and financial institutions as well as ‘subject persons’ are not included in this exception.
Adequate, Accurate and Current Information
A new provision has been added which enables the Registrar to make enquiries with or investigate the commercial partnership where the former has reason to believe that the beneficial ownership information submitted is not correct or complete. Furthermore, if the Registrar deems it necessary to update such information, every officer of the company shall be liable to a penalty of not more than 10,000 euro.
Additionally, information on beneficial owners shall be held by the Registrar for 5 years after the name of the company has been struck off the Registrar.