The Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union and provides an indication of what is in store for subject persons in the AML-CFT field.
The Directive includes provisions that will inter alia require:
- “corporate and other legal entities … to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including the details of the beneficial interests held“. These entities will be obliged to make this information available: (a) to “obliged entities“, to enable them to carry out their anti-money laundering and other obligations; and (b) for inclusion in a central register that’s accessible to the “competent authorities“, “obliged entities” and “any person or organisation that can demonstrate a legitimate interest” in it; and
- the “trustees of any express trust [to] obtain and hold adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership regarding the trust“. This must include information about the settlor, the trustee(s), the protector (if there is one), the beneficiaries or class of beneficiaries, and “any other natural person exercising effective control over the trust“. This information must also be made available to “obliged entities” and the “competent authorities“, but it will only need to be included in a central register if “the trust generates tax consequences“.
In each case, “By 26 June 2019, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing the conditions and the technical specifications and procedures for ensuring safe and efficient interconnection of the central registers. Where appropriate, that report shall be accompanied by a legislative proposal“.
For the purposes of the Directive, the following shall be treated as “obliged entities”:
(1) credit institutions;
(2) financial institutions;
(3) the following natural or legal persons acting in the exercise of their professional activities:
(a) auditors, external accountants and tax advisors;
(b) notaries and other independent legal professionals, where they participate, whether by acting on behalf of and for their client in any financial or real estate transaction, or by assisting in the planning or carrying out of transactions for their client concerning the:
(i) buying and selling of real property or business entities;
(ii) managing of client money, securities or other assets;
(iii) opening or management of bank, savings or securities accounts;
(iv) organisation of contributions necessary for the creation, operation or management of companies;
(v) creation, operation or management of trusts, companies, foundations, or similar structures;
(c) trust or company service providers not already covered under point (a) or (b);
(d) estate agents;
(e) other persons trading in goods to the extent that payments are made or received in cash in an amount of EUR 10 000 or more, whether the transaction is carried out in a single operation or in several operations which appear to be linked;
(f) providers of gambling services.
The Directive will come into force on 26 June 2015 and must be transposed into the national laws of all Member States by 26th June 2017. Accordingly, all relevant firms will be required to comply with these national laws from the 26th June 2017. Notwithstanding this 2-year transposition deadline for the Directive, the FIAU may and is indeed expected to transpose the Directive at an earlier stage.