Tuesday, February 7, 2023
HomeEconomyAnti-Money Laundering Directive. Restricted access to ultimate beneficiaries.

Anti-Money Laundering Directive. Restricted access to ultimate beneficiaries.

The European Court of Justice has declared invalid the part of the European Anti-Money Laundering Directive that requires information on the beneficial ownership of companies to be publicly accessible.

This was confirmed by a note that appeared on the website of the MBR Malta Business Registry, in which the Supervisory and Control Authority, deemed to bring to the public’s attention the provision of the Court of Justice of the European Union in its judgment delivered on November 22, 2022, in cases C-37/20 Luxembourg business registers and C-601/20 Sovim.

The note published by MBR, in referring to the court case, pointed out that the European Court of Justice has declared invalid the provision of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive under which member states shall ensure that information on the beneficial ownership of companies and other legal entities incorporated in their territory is accessible to the public in all cases.

Why the Anti-Money Laundering Directive infringes on rights

In the opinion of the Court, public access to information on beneficial ownership constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and the protection of personal data as laid down in Articles 7 and 8 of the aforementioned provision.

The information disclosed allows a potentially unlimited number of persons to obtain information on the beneficial owner’s material and financial situation.

Moreover, the potential consequences for data subjects of any misuse of their data are aggravated by the fact that once made available to the public, such data may not only be freely accessed but also stored and disseminated.

The ruling is bound to have a significant impact on all European countries that, at different times and in different ways, have set up a register containing information on the beneficial owners of companies and trusts.

Finally, the MBR’s note states that “since the judgment has the effect of invalidating the relevant part of the aforementioned Directive, the Malta Business Register is restricting access to the beneficial owners’ register only to the competent authorities and interested parties.
Interested parties must register on the MBR’s portal to have access to the register of beneficial owners. For other entities that are already registered users, please request dedicated access in the Profile tab and accept the terms of use.”

Download the Malta Business Registry note here


This article provides general information only and does not replace professional advice in any way. It is recommended to consult a qualified professional before making any important decisions regarding financial, legal or other matters. The author and the publication are not responsible for any errors or damages caused by the use of the information contained in this article.

Sergio Passariello
Sergio Passariello
Founder of the "Malta Business" network, a consulting, development and business organization network in Malta. CEO of Euromed International Trade which deals with business internationalization and commercial development. CEO of the Malta-based Mediterranean Academy of Culture, Technology and Commerce, MFHEA licensed higher education institution. Founder of the CETA BUSINESS FORUM and the CETA BUSINESS NETWORK, the first digital entrepreneurial ecosystem to enhance the relationship between Europe and Canada.
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