Fraud Squad Warning for Limited Companies, Register of Beneficial Ownership and Potential Penalties

Under the European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016 (the ‘Regulations’), all Irish companies are now required to set up and maintain a Register of Beneficial Owners.

Failure to comply with the Regulations, by a relevant entity or the relevant individual is a criminal offence and can result in the imposition of a fine of €5,000 on summary conviction.

There will be a three month period from 26 June 2017 to file the information with the Central Register without being in breach of the duty to file. After 26 September 2017, a list of defaulters will be sent to the National Bureau of Fraud Investigation of an Garda Siochána.

The purpose of the Regulations is to enable the determination of the natural persons who are the real owners/controllers of a company.

Under the Regulations, a “beneficial owner” is a natural person who directly or indirectly owns or controls over 25% of the share capital or the voting rights or control by other means.

The details contained in the Register will be:

  • Names, dates of birth, nationalities and addresses of each beneficial owner;
  • Nature and extent of the interest held by each beneficial owner;
  • Date on which the natural person was entered as a beneficial owner and
  • Date on which the beneficial owner of the company ceased to be an owner.

The details are then required to be provided to a Central Register which will be hosted by the Companies Registration Office. At present, the Central Register is under construction. Current indications are that this Central Register will open on 26 June 2017 and will eventually be available for public inspection.

If you would like our assistance to comply with your legal obligations by setting up a Register of Beneficial Owners for your company and preparing the relevant Notice(s) to be signed by the relevant Beneficial Owner(s) please do not hesitate to contact us.

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