From Walkers: "All affected Relevant Entities must take steps now to ensure that the necessary beneficial ownership information is filed in time via the Central Register’s online registration portal - https://rbo.gov.ie/. Paper submissions are not accepted and no fees are charged. Relevant Entities incorporated on or after 22 June 2019 must file their beneficial ownership information with the Central Register within five months of the date of their incorporation."
This is especially relevant as Brexit looms and companies point an eye towards Ireland for relocation of home registries and operations.
Similar UBO efforts in the UK may supplement the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) initiative that was incorporated into UK law in January 2018 as part of the Criminal Finances Act 2017. It is a type of court order issued to compel someone to reveal the sources of their unexplained wealth related to assets that are worth more than £50,000. UWO provides regulators and law enforcement more tools to combat tax evasion, money laundering and terrorism financing. UWO is somewhat similar to the U.S. Geographic Targeting Orders in detecting the use of high-value assets as tools for illicit activity or financial concealment. The U.K. has recently seen effects on foreign purchases of real estate that mirror the reduction in cash-for-property transactions in South Florida.
The ease with which legal persons, primarily limited liability companies (or similar) can be formed, make them particularly vulnerable, and are seen to be used in building complex legal ownership structures, often involving shell companies.
Trust and company service providers frequently play a role in such structures. The use of nominee directors and shareholders, both formal and informal, exacerbates the risks by creating barriers between the owner or individual and laundered proceeds, and often professional intermediaries play a role in helping create or operate the structures used to conceal beneficial ownership.
The Central Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and Industrial and Provident Societies (the “Central Register”) launched on 29 July 2019. Irish incorporated companies and certain other legal entities (the “Relevant Entities”) are obliged by Part 3 of the European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 110 of 2019) (the “2019 Regulations”) to file details of their beneficial ownership with the Central Register. The 2019 Regulations imposed a deadline of 22 November 2019 for Relevant Entities in existence prior to the introduction of the 2019 Regulations to comply with their beneficial ownership reporting obligations.