Keeping Records of Actual Company Owners

16. 8. 2016

The Parliament of the Czech Republic are debating a bill concerning several measures against legalisation of revenues from criminal activities and financing of terrorism (money laundering); it brings about a novelty of keeping records of real company owners to the Czech legal system. What exactly does this scheme imply?

Should the bill be approved, all legal entities and trust funds will have to record data on a specific physical person who “owns” the company in question. Generally speaking, it will have to be apparent who is really behind the entity. According to the bill, the real owner is to be defined as a physical person only (ergo, not a legal one) who can directly or indirectly exercise chief influence in the firm. The data, however, should not only be recorded by the companies themselves but also by registration courts in a newly established, non-public register. After the bill has been adopted, companies should be obliged to enter the relevant data on the owners into it.

Although the bill may be amended in certain details, the obligation of the companies to keep records of the actual owners ought to be imposed since it is incurred by an EU directive.

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