In a recent announcement by the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Official Receiver, the effective date for the commencement of data collection regarding the details of entities' beneficial owners has now moved to 22 February 2021.

Legal entities are granted a six-month period to register to a specially created platform and submit information concerning the physical person who is the beneficial owner of the respective legal entity. The developed platform represents an intermediate solution and access to it will be possible only by the competent authorities at present, subject to a prior request made to the Registrar of Companies.

Following information by the Cyprus Bar Association, submission of information and registration to the beneficial owners' platform is voluntary until the relevant regulations are enacted. Enactment is expected in the next few months. At present, the draft regulations are being finalised and will then be sent to the Cyprus Bar Association for review and comments, prior to their enactment.

The development and operation of the beneficial owners' platform represents an obligation pursuant to the implementation of the EU Fourth Anti-money Laundering (AML) Directive (2015/849/EU), transposed into legislation in Cyprus in January 2020. The final regulations governing the publication of beneficial owners' details will likely include a 'legitimate interest' requirement where legal arrangements are concerned (eg, trusts).

This disclosure requirement represents a balancing act between competing legal obligations, including:

  • the EU Fourth AML Directive;
  • the data protection laws and regulations; and
  • the basic human right of maintaining privacy.

For further information on this topic please contact Stella Koukounis at Solsidus Law by telephone (+357 22 007700) or email ([email protected]). The Solsidus Law website can be accessed at www.solsiduslaw.com.