Commercial Court submits regulations regarding Register of Beneficial Owners to ECJ for interpretation

Commercial Court submits regulations regarding Register of Beneficial Owners to ECJ for interpretation

AIQUNITED is providing information on a decision of the Luxemburg Commercial Court to submit questions in relation to Art. 15, Section 1 of the RBO Law to the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”). Art. 15 of the RBO Law restricts access to the Register of Beneficial Owners (the “RBO”) to public authorities, notaries and financial institutions.
The submission concerns the interpretation of certain terms with regard to the restriction of access to the RBO. The Court considers parts of the terminology of Art. 15, Section 1 of the RBO Law as not sufficiently precise. Furthermore, the Court points out variations in the official translations of the Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (the “Directive 2015/849”). In the interest of legal clarity and consistent interpretation and application throughout the EU, the Court decided to submit its questions to the ECJ.
For the duration of the proceeding, the public’s access to the data concerned remains restricted.

Background:

The Luxembourg Law of 13 January 2019 establishing a Register of Beneficial Owners (the “RBO Law”) implements Directive 2015/849 into Luxemburg law. The RBO Law entered into force on 1 March 2019. It requires all entities registered in the Luxembourg Trade and Companies Register to disclose the identity of their Ultimate Beneficial Owners.
Generally, the disclosed data is accessible by the public. In accordance with Directive 2015/849, Art. 15 of the RBO Law provides for restricted access limited to public authorities, notaries and financial institutions. The restriction is available upon written request and granted based on exceptional circumstances as defined in Art. 15 of the RBO Law.
In March 2019, AIQUNITED requested such a restriction on behalf of some of our clients. The RBO declined this request. Appeals of the decisions were filed in 2019 on behalf of our clients before the competent Luxembourg court. The court decided to submit certain questions concerning a) the interpretation of Art. 15 of the RBO Law and b) variations in the official translations of the Directive 2015/849 to the ECJ in order to obtain clarification as to application of certain terms of Art. 15 of the RBO Law and to achieve a uniform application of these terms throughout the EU.

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