The disclosure of beneficial owners has come to the fore with the EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive requiring EU member states to adapt their national legal provisions in respect of corporate and legal entities. The registering of beneficial owners in businesses is an attempt to prevent money laundering and to increase transparency of ownership of defined legal entities. The laws in all jurisdictions need to be strictly adhered to, in order to avoid sanctions. What is the applicability of these disclosure regulations in practice? What are the associated registration costs and deadlines involved? What are the sanctions for non-compliance?

In the articles featured, our authors look at the legalities involved in the compulsory disclosure of information for M&A in Austria and the Czech Republic.

Austria

Here's a checklist on how to fulfill the extensive obligations in Austria:

  • Austrian Law on the Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register (Wirtschaftliche Eigentümer Registergesetz – WiEReG): The WiEReG came into force on 15 January 2018.
  • Legal entities concerned: In particular all corporations (limited liability companies, stock companies), partnerships (general and limited partnerships), private foundations and associations, if they have their registered office in Austria.

Continue reading the checklist for Austria, including information about notification, deadlines, and penal provisions here.

Czech Republic What does the beneficial owner registration requirement comprise?

Generally, the requirement includes the obligation to disclose and register information about beneficial owner(s), including their name, date of birth, place of residence and citizenship, and most importantly, details about the beneficial owner's voting rights or shares in the legal entity, or other facts establishing that he or she is a beneficial owner of the legal entity.

Who is affected by this obligation?

Practically, all legal entities that are registered in Czech public registers, ie in the Register of Associations (spolkový rejstřík), Register of Foundations (nadační rejstřík), Register of Institutes (rejstřík ústavů), Register of Associations of Unit Owners (rejstřík společenství vlastníků jednotek), Commercial Register (obchodní rejstřík) and Register of Public Service Companies (rejstřík obecně prospěšných společností), as well as all trusts registered in the List of Trusts (evidence svěřenských fondů), will need to disclose and register information about their beneficial owner(s) in the Beneficial Ownership Register by certain deadlines.

To read about associated costs and who is obliged to discharge the registration duty in Czech Republic, click here.