New Anti Money Laundering Regulations on Beneficial Ownership

The Regulation applies to Irish incorporated corporate or other legal entities

December 16, 2017

The European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016 (the regulations apply from 15 November 2016 and immediate action is required) applies to every Irish incorporated corporate or other legal entity, except for those:

  1. listed on a regulated market that is subject to disclosure requirements consistent with the law of the EU, or
  2. subject to equivalent international standards which ensure adequate transparency of ownership information.

The regulations require every Irish corporate or other legal entity to take all reasonable steps to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information in respect of its “beneficial owners”. Such information includes the name, date of birth, nationality, residential address, and statement of nature and extent of interest held by each “beneficial owner”. This information must be maintained in a company register. Failure to do so is a criminal offence and subjects the entity to a Class A fine.

In the regulations, “beneficial owner” is given the meaning provided by Article 3(6) (a) of the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.

At a high level, a shareholding or an ownership interest (directly and/or indirectly held) of more than 25%, or control by other means, would qualify a person as a “beneficial owner”.

To assist entities in ascertaining who its “beneficial owners” are, the regulations provide for notices to be sent to the persons it believes are “beneficial owners” or to persons it has reasonable cause to believe know the “beneficial owner(s)”.

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