Despite European Union (EU) provisions stressing the importance of granting public access to beneficial ownership information, access to that data may be restricted, even in member countries that have public central registers in place according to a new report published by Transparency International (TI).
It concludes that delays in establishing public registers and accessibility barriers undermine the EU’s progress towards ending kleptocratic abuse of anonymous companies.
After taking stock of whether countries across the EU have implemented measures to improve transparency in company ownership, TI found that the great majority of countries across the EU – 24 out of 27 – have at least a private central beneficial ownership information register in place.
The only three countries that have not yet established any type of beneficial ownership register are Hungary, Italy and Lithuania.
Non-compliance with EU rules becomes much greater according to TI’s examination of whether EU countries have established public beneficial ownership registers.
Six countries – Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Romania and Spain – have failed to comply with the deadline and have not yet opened up their registers to the public.
In most of these countries, access to the data can still be granted to the media or civil society, if they prove they have a legitimate interest.
TI’s report, Access Denied? Availability and Accessibility of Beneficial Ownership Data in the European Union, can be downloaded from here.
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News