ECJ Decision on Public Access to UBO Registers

On 22 November 2022, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) effectively ruled that public access to the registers of beneficial owners (UBO Registers) held by EU member states based on the relevant provisions of the 5th EU AML Directive (the ‘Directive’), is illegal.

It is reminded that, based on the provisions of the Directive, information on the beneficial ownership of companies incorporated within the territory of EU Member States has so far been accessible in all cases to any member of the general public.

Some EU member states have already restricted public access to their beneficial owner registers and many other are in the process of taking action. The Cyprus Registrar of Companies, which is the responsible authority for keeping the UBO Register in Cyprus, announced on 28 November 2022 that access to the UBO Register for the general public is suspended with effect from 23 November 2022.

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