The Cyprus Registrar of Companies has announced the postponement of the deadline for companies to submit their beneficial ownership information. The new deadline is 31 July 2022.
The creation of a public register of ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) of Cypriot companies and other legal entities was provided for by the amendments to Prevention and Suppression of Money laundering and Terrorist Financing Law. These amendments were adopted to implement into the Cyprus legislation the EU Directive 2015/849 of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (as amended by the EU Directive 2018/843 of 30 May 2018 which establishes the obligation of EU member states to provide access to information on beneficial ownership not only to their competent authorities but also to any member of the general public).
From 12 March 2021, all Cypriot companies were required to collect information about their beneficial owners and submit it to the central register through the governmental online portal. The first (transitional) period given for the submission of information was 12 months and was supposed to end on 12 March 2022.
Companies that are listed on a regulated market and disclose information under the EU regulations, branches of foreign companies in Cyprus, as well as companies that filed an application for the strike-off from the Register or liquidated before 12 March 2021, are exempted from the obligation to submit the UBO information to the register.
A beneficial owner is any natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a legal entity through direct or indirect ownership (25% plus one share or ownership interest of more than 25%) in such a legal entity or who exercises control over it through other means.
The following UBO information should be submitted to the register:
- name, surname, date of birth, nationality and residential address;
- the nature and extent of the beneficial interest (including share percentage, voting rights or the nature of significant influence or control);
- number and type of personal identification document (passport, ID card) and country of its issuance;
- the date on which the natural person was entered in the UBO register;
- the date of changes to the particulars of the natural person or the date on which the person ceased to be an UBO.
The information on beneficial owners will need to be annually confirmed to the Registrar of Companies (from 1 to 31 December of each calendar year).
During the period of formation of the UBO central register, its information will be available only to the Cyprus competent authorities (Financial Intelligence Unit, Customs Department, Tax Department and Police). After the end of the transition period, the information will also become available to legal entities that carry out identification and due diligence measures in relation to their customers, and to any other persons (subject to payment of the required fee). The latter will, however, only see the name, month and year of birth, nationality and country of residence of the beneficial owner, as well as the nature and extent of their beneficial interest.