Suspension of access to the Beneficial Owners register in Cyprus for the public as an immediate reaction to the decision of the CJEU
The judgement of 22nd
of November 2022 issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (hereinafter ‘CJEU’
), in the Jointed cases C-37/20 and C-601/20 constitutes landmark decision. The court held that there had been a violation of fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data enshrined in Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, respectively, as a consequence of general public’s access to information on beneficial ownership.
The court ruled that Article 1 paragraph (15)(c) of the Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 (hereinafter ‘5th 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.
The CJEU found that, the EU legislature seeks to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing by creating, by means of increased transparency, an environment less likely to be used for those purposes, however the interference entailed by that measure is neither limited to what is strictly necessary nor proportionate to the objective pursued.
Following the Judgement of the CJEU the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property (hereinafter ‘RoC’
) on 28th of November suspended the access to the Beneficial Owners register for the general public with effect from 23/11/2022.
According to the announcement of the RoC the relevant information will, also continue to be provided to the obliged entities, with the applicable procedure by submitting additionally a solemn declaration confirming that the information on the Beneficial Owners is requested within the context of performing customer due diligence.
The RoC emphasized that the obligation of companies and partnerships to submit and update their Beneficial Owners information is not affected and remains valid.
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