UBO register temporarily offline after European court ruling

Schaap Advocaten Notarissen  |  23 November 2022  |  Reading time: approximately 1 minute

The UBO register is temporarily offline after the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on the public accessibility of the UBO register. However, companies and organisations remain obliged to register their UBOs in the UBO register.

The ruling

In the ruling of 22 November 2022, the European Court concludes that the provision in the European Money Laundering Directive, which regulates that member states must ensure that any member of the general public must have access to UBO information, is insufficiently substantiated and therefore invalid (press release).

The European Court notes that general public access to information on the beneficial owners of entities constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and protection of personal data. At the same time, the European Court of Justice states that the UBO register pursues a public interest (prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing) that could justify serious interference with fundamental rights. However, according to European Court of Justice, the serious interference by the public UBO register is not limited to what is strictly necessary and is disproportionate to the objective pursued.

The Netherlands

Following this ruling, the UBO register is temporarily unavailable at Minister Kaag’s request. In the coming days, the ruling will be analysed and the minister will enter into consultations with the European Commission to see what provision of information is possible, as a Letter to the House of Representatives dated 22 November 2022 shows. According to the minister, the ruling does not affect the obligation for legal entities to register UBOs and this will therefore remain in force.

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