UBO register no longer public?

published by: Sebastian van den Brink posted on November 23, 2022 reading time

The Court of Justice (EU) yesterday issued a ruling that no longer takes for granted the openness of the UBO register. What is this UBO register again and what is the consequence of this ruling?

UBO register

The UBO register is an implementation of anti-money laundering and anti-corruption regulations at the European level. Its purpose is to clarify which natural persons are ultimate stakeholders in legal entities. In the Netherlands, the UBO register is maintained by the Chamber of Commerce. Since March 2022, companies are required to register who are the "Ultimate Beneficial Owners" (UBO) with them.

From the moment the UBO register was announced, business owners have objected to the register. The UBO register will make privacy-sensitive information about private individuals publicly available.

Disclosure not necessary

At issue in the Court's ruling is how the implementation of the UBO register in Luxembourg relates to the right to respect for private life and the right to protection of personal data. The UBO register in Luxembourg is based on the same regulations as the UBO register in the Netherlands.

The Court considers that the publicity of the UBO register, which keeps access possible for journalists and civil society organization, can help fight against abuse of legal entities. However, the Court does not consider this publicity necessary to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

Thus, according to the Court, there is no reason to make the UBO register publicly available. The Ministry of Finance has not yet taken a final decision on the Dutch UBO register. It is expected that registration in the UBO register will remain mandatory, but the register itself will no longer be publicly accessible.

Do you have questions about your UBO registration or the structure of your company? If so, please contact our corporate law specialists.