The Commission published its proposals for a 4th Money Laundering Directive on 5 February 2013. Article 29 of the Draft Directive provides as follows:
1. Member States shall ensure that corporate or legal entities established within their territory obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership.
2. Member States shall ensure that the information referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article can be accessed in a timely manner by competent authorities and by obliged entities."
Article 30 makes similar provisions in relation to Trusts and other legal arrangements. Neither Article requires the establishment of a Government registry. While I concur with the policy objective that beneficial owners of a company should be identifiable for the purposes of combatting money laundering and terrorist financing, the Commission's proposals are currently under discussion in a Working Party of the European Council.
The Deputy may be aware that the 3rd Money Laundering Directive requires financial institutions and other designated persons to identify any beneficial owner and take risk based and adequate measures to verify his identity so that the financial institution etc is satisfied that it knows who the beneficial owner is including, as regards legal persons, trusts and similar legal arrangements, taking risk based and adequate measures to understand the ownership and control structure of the customer. The 3rd Money Laundering Directive was transposed into Irish Law in the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010.