1. Member States shall ensure that corporate and other legal entities incorporated within their territory are required to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including the details of the beneficial interests held. Member States shall ensure that breaches of this Article are subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive measures or sanctions 1.
Member States shall ensure that those entities are required to provide, in addition to information about their legal owner, information on the beneficial owner to obliged entities when the obliged entities are taking customer due diligence measures in accordance with Chapter II.
Member States shall require that the beneficial owners of corporate or other legal entities, including through shares, voting rights, ownership interest, bearer shareholdings or control via other means, provide those entities with all the information necessary for the corporate or other legal entity to comply with the requirements in the first subparagraph.
2. Member States shall require that the information referred to in paragraph 1 can be accessed in a timely manner by competent authorities and FIUs.
3. Member States shall ensure that the information referred to in paragraph 1 is held in a central register in each Member State, for example a commercial register, companies register as referred to in Article 3 of Directive 2009/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council2, or a public register. Member States shall notify to the Commission the characteristics of those national mechanisms. The information on beneficial ownership contained in that database may be collected in accordance with national systems.
4. Member States shall require that the information held in the central register referred to in paragraph 3 is adequate, accurate and current, and shall put in place mechanisms to this effect. Such mechanisms shall include requiring obliged entities and, if appropriate and to the extent that this requirement does not interfere unnecessarily with their functions, competent authorities to report any discrepancies they find between the beneficial ownership information available in the central registers and the beneficial ownership information available to them. In the case of reported discrepancies, Member States shall ensure that appropriate actions be taken to resolve the discrepancies in a timely manner and, if appropriate, a specific mention be included in the central register in the meantime.
5. Member States shall ensure that the information on the beneficial ownership is accessible in all cases to:
(a) competent authorities and FIUs, without any restriction;
(b) obliged entities, within the framework of customer due diligence in accordance with Chapter II;
(c) any member of the general public.
The persons referred to in point (c) shall be permitted to access at least the name, the month and year of birth and the country of residence and nationality of the beneficial owner as well as the nature and extent of the beneficial interest held.
Member States may, under conditions to be determined in national law, provide for access to additional information enabling the identification of the beneficial owner. That additional information shall include at least the date of birth or contact details in accordance with data protection rules.
5a. Member States may choose to make the information held in their national registers referred to in paragraph 3 available on the condition of online registration and the payment of a fee, which shall not exceed the administrative costs of making the information available, including costs of maintenance and developments of the register.
6. Member States shall ensure that competent authorities and FIUs have timely and unrestricted access to all information held in the central register referred to in paragraph 3 without alerting the entity concerned. Member States shall also allow timely access by obliged entities when taking customer due diligence measures in accordance with Chapter II.
Competent authorities granted access to the central register referred to in paragraph 3 shall be those public authorities with designated responsibilities for combating money laundering or terrorist financing, as well as tax authorities, supervisors of obliged entities and authorities that have the function of investigating or prosecuting money laundering, associated predicate offences and terrorist financing, tracing and seizing or freezing and confiscating criminal assets.
7. Member States shall ensure that competent authorities and FIUs are able to provide the information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 3 to the competent authorities and to the FIUs of other Member States in a timely manner and free of charge.
8. Member States shall require that obliged entities do not rely exclusively on the central register referred to in paragraph 3 to fulfil their customer due diligence requirements in accordance with Chapter II. Those requirements shall be fulfilled by using a risk-based approach.
9. In exceptional circumstances to be laid down in national law, where the access referred to in points (b) and (c) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 5 would expose the beneficial owner to disproportionate risk, risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, extortion, harassment, violence or intimidation, or where the beneficial owner is a minor or otherwise legally incapable, Member States may provide for an exemption from such access to all or part of the information on the beneficial ownership on a case-by-case basis. Member States shall ensure that these exemptions are granted upon a detailed evaluation of the exceptional nature of the circumstances. Rights to an administrative review of the exemption decision and to an effective judicial remedy shall be guaranteed. A Member State that has granted exemptions shall publish annual statistical data on the number of exemptions granted and reasons stated and report the data to the Commission.
Exemptions granted pursuant to the first subparagraph of this paragraph shall not apply to credit institutions and financial institutions, or to the obliged entities referred to in point (3)(b) of Article 2(1) that are public officials.
10. Member States shall ensure that the central registers referred to in paragraph 3 of this Article are interconnected via the European Central Platform established by Article 22(1) of Directive (EU) 2017/1132 of the European Parliament and of the Council3. The connection of the Member States’ central registers to the platform shall be set up in accordance with the technical specifications and procedures established by implementing acts adopted by the Commission in accordance with Article 24 of Directive (EU) 2017/1132 and with Article 31a of this Directive.
Member States shall ensure that the information referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article is available through the system of interconnection of registers established by Article 22(1) of Directive (EU) 2017/1132, in accordance with Member States’ national laws implementing paragraphs 5, 5a and 6 of this Article.
The information referred to in paragraph 1 shall be available through the national registers and through the system of interconnection of registers for at least five years and no more than 10 years after the corporate or other legal entity has been struck off from the register. Member States shall cooperate among themselves and with the Commission in order to implement the different types of access in accordance with this Article.
1 Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018, (OJ L 156, 19.6.2018, p. 43)
2 Directive 2009/101/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the interests of members and third parties, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 48 of the Treaty, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent (OJ L 258, 1.10.2009, p. 11)
3 Directive (EU) 2017/1132 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2017 relating to certain aspects of company law (OJ L 169, 30.6.2017, p. 46)