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Ultimate beneficial owners revealed

Will the ultimate beneficial owners of all Slovak companies be revealed?

When will it happen? Who will get access to this information?

The ultimate beneficial owner (UBO) is a natural person who controls a legal person, a natural person-undertaking or a non-investment pooled asset fund. The UBO is the last person in line in the chain of an entity's ownership structure.

For the time being, a company that files for incorporation must register its UBO(s) in the companies registry. If no information is provided, the registry will reject the incorporation.

Additionally, all legal entities currently registered must declare their UBOs by 31 December 2019. The fine for noncompliance can be up to EUR 3,310.

After the registration, the information on the UBO is not publicly available. State authorities can get access to this data, though.

What is not commonly known, however, is that under the fifth EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD 5) this situation will change. With minimal public awareness, the AMLD 5 was empowered to compel EU Member States to ensure that the information on the UBOs is accessible to the general public. The general public must be permitted to access at, a minimum, the name, the month and year of birth, the country of residence, and nationality of all UBOs, as well as the nature and extent of the beneficial interest held. Member States have a time period until 10 January 2020 to bring into force laws necessary to comply with AMLD 5.

Thereafter, information on UBOs, provided in 2019, will be accessible by anybody.