New regulations affecting the beneficial ownership of corporate entities came into effect this year. Marese Stafford, ACIS AITI explains what’s changing and how to comply with the requirements.
Minister Paschal Donohoe recently signed into law The European Union (Anti Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2019. Among other requirements, the new rules, which replace earlier (2016) regulations, require companies, trusts and certain other organisations to obtain and hold information on their beneficial owners. It is important to understand the changes as penalties, including fines of up to €500,000 and a possible custodial sentence of up to 12 months, can be imposed for failing to comply with the new regulations.
Who is affected?
Relevant entities under the new rules include Irish companies, Irish Collective Asset Management Vehicles (ICAVs), industrial and provident societies and other bodies corporate. A beneficial owner is any natural person who directly or indirectly owns or controls a shareholding of 25% plus one share.
What is changing?
The new rules impose a duty to submit certain information to a new Central Register of Beneficial of Ownership of Companies and Industrial and Provident Societies (Central Register). Corporates in existence at 29 July 2019 must upload their information by 22 November 2019. Those incorporated on/or after 29 July 2019 will have 4 months within which to deliver the required information. As was the case under the old rules, a relevant entity must keep adequate, accurate and current information in respect of its beneficial owners and state the nature and extent of the control exercised by them.
What information must be provided to the Central Register?
Relevant entities must provide the following details in respect of their beneficial owner(s):
- Date of birth
- Residential address
- PPS number
- Statement of the nature and extent of interest.
Information on the Central Register must be kept up to date. Non-compliance, or provision of false information, could lead to fines of up to €500,000 and a custodial sentence of up to 12 months.
What if we can’t identify a beneficial owner?
The regulations state, that if after having exhausted all possible means and provided there are no grounds for suspicion by the relevant entity, no natural person is identified — or if there is any doubt that any natural person identified is a beneficial owner of the relevant entity —the names of the one or more natural persons who hold the position of senior managing officials of the relevant entity shall be entered on the Central Register.
How do I provide information?
A new online platform www.rbo.gov.ie has been launched.
Who can access the Central Register?
Unrestricted access to the information on the Central Register is given to An Garda Síochána, members of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Revenue Commissioners, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and other bodies engaged in the prevention, detection or investigation of possible money laundering or terrorist financing. The general public and other designation persons will be allowed restricted access but will not be able to access private residential addresses and PPS numbers.
The new regulations — S.I. No. 110/2019 – European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership Of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2019 — are available online (www.irishstatutebook.ie). If you have questions, or need more information about what they mean for you, please contact a member of our team.