Companies across the EU will be forced to disclose their true owners under new legislation prompted by the release of the Panama Papers.
Anti-corruption campaigners applauded the agreement as a major step in the fight against tax evasion and money laundering, but expressed disappointment that trusts will mostly escape scrutiny.
The revised terms of the EU’s fourth anti-money laundering directive include:
- A requirement for companies to disclose their beneficial, or true, owners in a publicly available register.
- Data on the beneficial owners of trusts to be available to tax and law enforcement authorities, as well as sectors with an obligation to follow anti-money laundering rules, such as lawyers.
- A requirement for member states to verify beneficial ownership information submitted to their registers.
- Extending anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism regulations to apply to virtual currencies, provision of tax services and those dealing in works of art.
EU member states will have 18 months to transpose the new directive into