Cyprus: suspension of access to the register of beneficial owners (the “UBO Register”) for members of the general public

Following the landmark judgement of the Court of Justice of the European Union in joined cases C-37/20 and C/601/20 (the “Judgment”), the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property has announced the suspension of access to the UBO Register for members of the general public.

According to the Judgment, Article 1 point 15(c) of the Anti-money laundering directive providing for general public access to the beneficial ownership information of legal entities through the UBO Register is invalid. Such access infringes the fundamental rights enshrined in Articles 7 (respect for private life) and 8 (protection of personal data) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

As of 23 November 2022, access to the beneficial ownership information will be made available only to the following persons:

Persons Accessibility
Competent supervisory authorities: Cyprus Bar Association, Central Bank of Cyprus, Exchange Commission Without restrictions
Other relevant authorities: Unit of combating Money Laundering (MOKAS), Customs Department, Tax Department, Police Without restrictions
Obliged entities: credit institutions, financial institutions, natural or legal persons acting in the exercise of their professional activities (i.e., auditors, external accountants, tax advisors, notaries and other independent legal professionals and company service providers) In the context of applying customer due diligence and identification measures

It should be highlighted that the recent announcement does not affect, in any way, the obligation lying on companies and partnerships to submit and/or update their beneficial ownership information with the UBO Register.

For more information on this topic, please contact Theodora Alexandrou or reach out to your usual contact at Elias Neocleous & Co LLC.