In February 2021, Cyprus implemented the provisions of the 5th AML Directive into domestic law. This establishes central registers of ultimate beneficial owners.
In Cyprus two such registers are established:
- the Register of Beneficial Owners of Companies; and
- the Register of Beneficial Owners of Express Trusts and similar arrangements.
The Companies Register is held by the Registrar of Companies. Affected clients have already received a letter detailing the information required. The deadline for submission of information is 12 March 2022. The information on this Companies Register is public, which means that upon request a member of the general public can access certain limited information. This includes the first name of the ultimate beneficial shareholder(s), month and year of birth, nationality and country of residence.
The Trusts Register is held by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. The information submitted with respect to Trusts being: the details of settlor, the trustees, the beneficiaries and the protector (if any). This information is not accessible to the general public but only to competent authorities and obliged entities, on certain conditions. Certain Trust related information may become available to a person upon request only if the person requesting the said information can demonstrate that they have a ‘legitimate interest’ reason for needing the specific information before such is released.
Companies held by Trusts
A Cyprus company held by a Trust (Cyprus or foreign) will disclose in the Companies’ Register, as ultimate beneficial shareholder, the name of the Trust, its jurisdiction and the beneficial interest held only.
At the level of the Trusts Register, and only in the case where the trustees are Cyprus resident or non-EU, then the details to be inserted shall include the names of the Trust, trustees, Protector and beneficiaries. As aforementioned, a member of the public who may wish to access information held within the Trusts Register (which is a closed Register) shall need to show ‘legitimate interest’.
The above is for information and guidance purposes only.