Article

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Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD) > CHAPTER III > Article
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Article
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31
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1.  Member States shall ensure that this Article applies to trusts and other types of legal arrangements, such as, inter alia, fiducie, certain types of Treuhand or fideicomiso, where such arrangements have a structure or functions similar to trusts. Member States shall identify the characteristics to determine where legal arrangements have a structure or functions similar to trusts with regard to such legal arrangements governed under their law.

Each Member State shall require that trustees of any express trust administered in that Member State obtain and hold adequate, accurate and up-to-date information on beneficial ownership regarding the trust. That information shall include the identity of:

(a) the settlor(s);

(b) the trustee(s);

(c) the protector(s) (if any);

(d) the beneficiaries or class of beneficiaries;

(e) any other natural person exercising effective control of the trust.

Member States shall ensure that breaches of this Article are subject to effective, proportionate and dissuasive measures or sanctions.

2.  Member States shall ensure that trustees or persons holding equivalent positions in similar legal arrangements as referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, disclose their status and provide the information referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article to obliged entities in a timely manner, where, as a trustee or as person holding an equivalent position in a similar legal arrangement, they form a business relationship or carry out an occasional transaction above the thresholds set out in points (b), (c) and (d) of Article 11.

3.  Member States shall require that the information referred to in paragraph 1 can be accessed in a timely manner by competent authorities and FIUs.

3a.  Member States shall require that the beneficial ownership information of express trusts and similar legal arrangements as referred to in paragraph 1 shall be held in a central beneficial ownership register set up by the Member State where the trustee of the trust or person holding an equivalent position in a similar legal arrangement is established or resides.

Where the place of establishment or residence of the trustee of the trust or person holding an equivalent position in similar legal arrangement is outside the Union, the information referred to in paragraph 1 shall be held in a central register set up by the Member State where the trustee of the trust or person holding an equivalent position in a similar legal arrangement enters into a business relationship or acquires real estate in the name of the trust or similar legal arrangement.

Where the trustees of a trust or persons holding equivalent positions in a similar legal arrangement are established or reside in different Member States, or where the trustee of the trust or person holding an equivalent position in a similar legal arrangement enters into multiple business relationships in the name of the trust or similar legal arrangement in different Member States, a certificate of proof of registration or an excerpt of the beneficial ownership information held in a register by one Member State may be considered as sufficient to consider the registration obligation fulfilled.

4.  Member States shall ensure that the information on the beneficial ownership of a trust or a similar legal arrangement 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 natural or legal person that can demonstrate a legitimate interest;

(d) any natural or legal person that files a written request in relation to a trust or similar legal arrangement which holds or owns a controlling interest in any corporate or other legal entity other than those referred to in Article 30(1), through direct or indirect ownership, including through bearer shareholdings, or through control via other means.

The information accessible to natural or legal persons referred to in points (c) and (d) of the first subparagraph shall consist of the name, the month and year of birth and the country of residence and nationality of the beneficial owner, as well as nature and extent of beneficial interest held.

Member States may, under conditions to be determined in national law, provide for access of 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. Member States may allow for wider access to the information held in the register in accordance with their national law.

Competent authorities granted access to the central register referred to in paragraph 3a shall be 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.

4a.  Member States may choose to make the information held in their national registers referred to in paragraph 3a 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.

5.  Member States shall require that the information held in the central register referred to in paragraph 3a 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.

6.  Member States shall ensure that obliged entities do not rely exclusively on the central register referred to in paragraph 4 to fulfil their customer due diligence requirements as laid down in Chapter II. Those requirements shall be fulfilled by using a risk-based approach.

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.

7a.  In exceptional circumstances to be laid down in national law, where the access referred to in points (b), (c) and (d) of the first subparagraph of paragraph 4 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 shall not apply to the credit institutions and financial institutions, and to obliged entities referred to in point (3)(b) of Article 2(1) that are public officials.

Where a Member State decides to establish an exemption in accordance with the first subparagraph, it shall not restrict access to information by competent authorities and FIUs.

9.  Member States shall ensure that the central registers referred to in paragraph 3a of this Article are interconnected via the European Central Platform established by Article 22(1) of Directive (EU) 2017/1132. 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(2) of Directive (EU) 2017/1132, in accordance with Member States’ national laws implementing paragraphs 4 and 5 of this Article.

Member States shall take adequate measures to ensure that only the information referred to in paragraph 1 that is up to date and corresponds to the actual beneficial ownership is made available through their national registers and through the system of interconnection of registers, and the access to that information shall be in accordance with data protection rules.

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 grounds for registering the beneficial ownership information as referred to in paragraph 3a have ceased to exist. Member States shall cooperate with the Commission in order to implement the different types of access in accordance with paragraphs 4 and 4a.

10.  Member States shall notify to the Commission the categories, description of the characteristics, names and, where applicable, legal basis of the trusts and similar legal arrangements referred to in paragraph 1 by 10 July 2019. The Commission shall publish the consolidated list of such trusts and similar legal arrangements in the Official Journal of the European Union by 10 September 2019.

By 26 June 2020, the Commission shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council assessing whether all trusts and similar legal arrangements as referred to in paragraph 1 governed under the law of Member States were duly identified and made subject to the obligations as set out in this Directive. Where appropriate, the Commission shall take the necessary steps to act upon the findings of that report.