On 10 August 2012, the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation published on its official website a draft law on requiring banks and other commercial organisations to disclose information on their respective owners (the “Draft Law”).

Specifically, the Draft Law proposes:

  • requiring (i) shareholders of more than one per cent of the voting shares of a credit organisation; as well as (ii) other entities with direct or indirect control in respect of these shareholders to report to a credit organisation information about themselves and their activities; 
  • requiring the nominee holders of the shares of a credit organisation to provide the relevant information to the credit organisation upon request; 
  • requiring a credit organisation to disclose publicly information received;
  • authorising the Central Bank of the Russian Federation to prohibit the exercise of share voting rights if the owner’s information has not been duly disclosed by a credit organisation; and 
  • recording information on the activities of legal entities subject to disclosure in the Unified Federal Register of Information.

Additionally, the Draft Law would require shareholders and participants holding more than one per cent of the voting shares in joint-stock and limited liability companies to disclose information on their shareholders and the shares owned by them, specifying the number of such shares within 30 days of being requested to do so by the relevant company.

According to the authors of the Draft Law, implementing these regulations will permit participants in the financial market (including the creditors of credit organisations) to (i) receive information in a timely manner on the ultimate owners and controlling parties of the relevant organisation; and (ii) reinforce the control mechanism to ensure transparency in respect of the ownership structure of Russian companies.

[A .zip file with documents relating to the Federal Draft Law “On Amending the Federal Law ‘On Banks and Banking Activity’ and the Federal Law ‘On the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia) and Other Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation’” is available in Russian at the official site of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation here]