European Court of Justice

(CNS): Recent decisions of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) may have implications here in the Cayman Islands. This is because the authorities are preparing legislation to pave the way for public beneficial owner registration for offshore entities. the court found The idea of ​​a public beneficial owner register to prevent money laundering constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental right to privacy and the protection of personal data. After adoption, it was filed by a Luxembourg company.

Given pressure from the UK and changes in global standards, the Cayman Islands Ministry of Financial Services is drafting legislation to consolidate the beneficial ownership laws into one law. This includes the proposed approach for introducing a public beneficial ownership register here, in line with the UK’s request.

Officials at the ministry said they are currently in talks with a wide range of sectors in the financial services industry and are considering their feedback on the matter. However, this ruling may affect the final bill.

“By providing clarity to all users of beneficial ownership law, the bill’s intent is to enhance the corporate transparency framework, reduce the potential for misuse of our entities, and increase the efficiency of the framework. to ensure that,” the ministry said in a brief release issued Thursday.

“The Department, with the assistance of outside counsel, is currently reviewing the ECJ’s ruling to determine whether it will have any impact on the proposal to introduce a public beneficial ownership registry.”

The ruling, issued on November 22nd, could give those here in the offshore sector who are opposing the public registration system the ammunition to speak out.

The Tribunal held that the requirement for public beneficial owner registration across Member States would allow a potentially unlimited number of people to know the He said it could be abused.

The ruling shows that the EU legislative body’s efforts to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing violate fundamental rights within the ECHR, and that its objectives can be achieved in other ways.The court has found that interference is not strictly limited to what is necessary or proportionate to the purpose

It also said that the provisions for releasing data to the public were not well defined and specified. The regime introduced by the Anti-Money Laundering Directive does not increase profits in terms of combating money laundering and terrorism financing, rather than previous regimes where only competent authorities were allowed to see information. also constitutes a rather serious interference with fundamental rights. the court has ruled.

The court said the balance between protecting fundamental rights against the need to combat financial crime was not resolved in public beneficial owner registers.

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