Register of real owners of companies to be finished by January 2019

The new Draft Law on the Register of Real Company Owners stipulates that the name of a founder of  a company, cooperative, foreign branch office, fund, foundation or institution has to be clearly displayed in the official business register.

The register of people who are the real owners of at least 25% of the company will have been formed by the end of January 2019. The goal of having records of all citizens, who have ownership in companies, is to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The Government of Serbia has recently adopted the aforementioned craft Law. Once it comes into effect, which should take place eight days after the adoption, the companies will have 30 days to clearly sate who their real owner is.

After that, this data will be sent to the Business Register Agency, which undertook to establish the register of real company owners by the end of January 2019.

According to the data compiled by the Business Registers Agency in March 2018, 172,000 registered subjects will need to be listed in the new register, including the 28,168 companies which owners or co-owners are foreign legal and natural persons.

For now, the register will not be available to the general public.

“The information about the real owners needs to be available to the authorities in charge and financial intelligence without any limitations and without informing the legal entity of it. The register has to be available for the purpose of due diligence, as well as to all persons or organizations that can prove a legal interest in having access to it. They need to be allowed access to the information about the real owners, which includes at least the name, the month and the year of birth, nationality, country of residence and the stake in the company”, the draft Law stipulates.

The main goal of the law is to upgrade the current system of detecting and preventing money laundering and financing of terrorism.

According to the relevant institutions, the current mechanism for the exchange of information has been inefficient. At the moment, the biggest problem is the speed of obtaining data and their validity.

(eKapija, 28.04.2018)

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