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European court rules against EU on Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership

- says registers containing personal details of owners of a company & accessible to general public is an infringement of fundamental rights of privacy & personal data protection
The European Union Court of Justice today, November 22, 2022, struck down the European Union (EU) mandate for public registers of beneficial ownership of all companies. Photo: www.huwmerriman.org.uk
Demonstrators in the heart of Road Town in Decision March 2018 on May 24, 2018. The march was to reject the implementation of Public Registers in the VI. Photo: VINO
Demonstrators in the heart of Road Town in Decision March 2018 on May 24, 2018. The march was to reject the implementation of Public Registers in the VI. Photo: VINO
It was on Monday, May 21, 2018, when the House of Lords let stand an amendment made by the House of Commons to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill demanding that only Overseas Territories located in the Caribbean have registers of beneficial ownership. This resulted in a major public demonstration in the Virgin Islands on March 24, 2018, known as Decision March 2018.
It was on Monday, May 21, 2018, when the House of Lords let stand an amendment made by the House of Commons to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill demanding that only Overseas Territories located in the Caribbean have registers of beneficial ownership. This resulted in a major public demonstration in the Virgin Islands on March 24, 2018, known as Decision March 2018.
LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg- In a strong affirmation of the position taken by the [British] Virgin Islands and other British Overseas Territories over many years, the European Union Court of Justice today, November 22, 2022, struck down the European Union (EU) mandate for public registers of beneficial ownership of all companies.

The Justices ruled that the provision whereby the information on the beneficial ownership of companies incorporated within the territory of member states is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public, is invalid.

Privacy rights & personal data protection

The court ruled that registers containing the personal details of the owners of a company and accessible to the general public is an infringement of fundamental rights of privacy and personal data protection.

The [British] Virgin Islands has said it has no issues with making beneficial ownership registers public once it becomes a global standard.

VI marched against Public Registers

It was on Monday, May 21, 2018, when the House of Lords let stand an amendment made by the House of Commons to the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill demanding that only Overseas Territories located in the Caribbean have registers of beneficial ownership.

No one else in the world or countries in the offshore sector, not even the UK or their Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man, have to comply with such rules.

This resulted in a major public demonstration in the Virgin Islands on March 24, 2018, known as Decision March 2018.

BOSS

The Virgin Islands was quick to launch a new innovative technology platform called BOSS (Beneficial Ownership Secure Search System) to share VI company information and beneficial ownership data with UK law enforcement within 24 hours.

BOSS is being pushed as the alternative to public registers as it meets all international standards as defined by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and provides the appropriate balance between privacy and transparency; however, it remains to be seen if the UK and EU will recognise the system and discontinue trying to enforce the harmful policy of public registers.

Nevertheless, The VI in 2020 had said it would make ownerships registers public in 2023, provided this was a global standard by then. The EU ruling may have thrown that commitment, including by the other OTs, in doubt.

Central Registers vs Public Registers

It should be noted that even as the EU was facing constitutional challenges regarding Public Registers, the UK was still pressing for the VI and other OTs to implement the controversial policy.

It should be noted that the United States, which has baked the UK to enforce public registers on its OTs, uses Central Registers as opposed to Public Registers. 

In late 2020, the US government passed the National Defence Authorisation Act which included important corporate transparency reforms. As a result of this Act, the majority of companies, about 87% in the US, will have to disclose their beneficial owners to the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), although this will not be made public. 

See link to access statement by EU Court of Justice on Public Registers

https://rgb-prod-public-pdfs.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/STxdLhx77NsjYNrSqCk8Oae00Rc.pdf

10 Responses to “European court rules against EU on Public Registers of Beneficial Ownership”

  • bvibuzz (22/11/2022, 17:43) Like (13) Dislike (17) Reply
    See we need to take these people to court the coi is slavery against the people
  • Reader (22/11/2022, 18:36) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    A Great Victory for the Overseas Territories! I highlight the following two excerpts from this article:
    1. '...an infringement of fundamental rights of privacy and personal data protection...';
    2. 'No one else in the world or countries in the offshore sector, not even the UK or their Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man, have to comply with such rules'.
  • The decision March (22/11/2022, 20:19) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    BVI marched against the beneficial owner public register and we were right all along.
    Not even the Uk have the register, but we were being forced to have it.
    The Court shamed all of them.
  • Victory! (22/11/2022, 21:56) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
    That just goes to show what the UK really thought of BVI . Props to the European Union court for really seeing it for what it is and not being bias. That’s fair justice! ????
  • Jan (22/11/2022, 23:41) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Unity is strenght, Just look at that massive turnout.
  • Proper ruling (23/11/2022, 04:53) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This decision is a simple and common sense one. Why should the general public get access to people's business information..As a matter a- fact I believe those information should only be access when valid reasons are presented and a warrant from a judge must be presented.
  • WISE (23/11/2022, 05:57) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Interesting.Don’t let that victory fool you.Keep your eyes open to the bigger picture.
  • @ victory (23/11/2022, 06:39) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
    well we will just let the corruption continue as usual , let the drugs contaminate the minds of the youths and we will be creating a next generation of dope addicts and cold blooded murders and gansters rule Supreme , what the heck , who dead , dead more power to you all
  • Two racist (23/11/2022, 07:38) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    When will collins and ranking go?
  • hm (23/11/2022, 22:18) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Colonialism 2.0 This ruling is only respected because it came from Golden Europe. Is that a lie nay.


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