Access to Beneficial Ownership Registers : The implementation of the fourth A.M.L Directive is approaching and M.E.P.s have agreed for a wider access to beneficial ownership by the public.What this means is that EU citizens could access the registers of beneficial owners of companies. The requirement of having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest,” in order to gain access will not be stopping an EU Citizen to gain such access even if he/she does not demonstrate to have a legitimate interest to such information. In addition trusts would have to meet the same transparency requirements as firms, under amendments. The amendments, agreed by the Economic and Monetary Affairs and Civil Liberties committees, would eliminate any grey areas towards the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. Additionally, stricter transparency rules are introduced to prevent tax evasion.
Access to Beneficial Ownership Registers : Wider Access to U.B.O. registers
As mentioned above, the said proposal would enable EU citizens to access beneficial ownership registers without having to demonstrate a “legitimate interest” in the information in an attempt to shed light on complex corporate structures. The legitimate interest requirement currently restricts access to authorities and professionals such as journalists and lobbyists.
Application to Trusts
The scope of the AML Directive has now been widened to cover trusts and other structures similar to trusts which will now have to meet the full transparency requirements of firms including the need to identify beneficial owners. The scope also covers Virtual currency platforms and custodian wallet providers with virtual currency platforms having the same obligation as banks and other payment institutions to scrutinize their customers by verifying identity details and monitoring their financial transactions. This may reduce the risk of using virtual currencies to launder criminal proceeds.
Prepaid card ID threshold lowered
The use of anonymous pre-paid instruments such as pre-paid cards is being discouraged as has being proven to be a convenient way to launder criminal proceeds. The threshold for which verification needs to be performed has been lowered from €250 to €150. As such, the need to regulate virtual currencies and anonymous prepaid cards has been expressed.