The Belgian Act of 18 September 2017 preventing money laundering and terrorist financing and limiting the use of cash, as implemented by the Royal Decree of 30 July 2018, has established a Belgian centralised register of ultimate beneficial owners or so-called UBOs.
From a practical perspective, the new register entails two new obligations for companies, (international) non-profit organisations, foundations, trusts, fiduciaries and other similar legal entities:
they are required to obtain, collect and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial owners;
their directors or governing bodies must submit this information electronically into the UBO register.
The first submission originally due by 31 March 2019 has now been extended until 30 September 2019. Thereafter, the accuracy of the information must be confirmed each year and, in the event the information is modified, an update must be made within a month.
In case a legal entity fails to comply with its reporting obligations, its directors or governing bodies may incur several sanctions. The Minister of Finance may impose an administrative fine ranging between EUR 250 and EUR 50,000. Furthermore, a court may impose a criminal fine ranging between EUR 50 and EUR 5,000 (which may ultimately range between EUR 400 and EUR 40,000 when multiplied by the applicable multiplicator, i.e. 8). Finally, the directors or governing bodies may also be subject to the ordinary liability regimes in case of non-compliance with the Belgian Company Code or the law in general.
Check out who is considered as beneficial owner within your organisation.
The Royal Decree sets forth the operating procedures for the UBO register. These include:
which information is to be transmitted to the UBO Register depending on the type of beneficial owner and legal entity;
who must register this information on behalf of the legal entities concerned and how;
who will have access to the information and how;
which exemptions are available to restrict the disclosure of the registered information;
which controls can be carried out and, if need be, which sanctions will be applied; and
how the data transmitted to the UBO register will be managed.
Fieldfisher can lighten your burden and help you comply with your reporting obligations.
We can act as your legal representative and manage the registration of information for you. Should this be of interest, you will have to activate a mandate for us electronically, which will provide us with the rights to act on your behalf.
You can read more about the subject on the UBO register page on the website of the Belgian Ministry of Finance.
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