Law obligating Estonian companies to show ultimate beneficiary in pipeline
A bill of legislative amendments has exited the Estonian Ministry of Finance that would oblige all businesses to inform the commercial register about their ultimate beneficiaries and authorize supervisory institutions to get more information about the owners of bank and payment accounts.
In the future, legal persons will be able to keep data about their ultimate beneficiaries in the commercial register and it will be possible for other persons to view that data electronically via the commercial register, spokespeople for the Ministry of Finance said.
In addition, the amendments would regulate the forwarding of information about bank and payment accounts to competent institutions, which at present is done by hand. Information about the owners of bank and payment accounts would be released only to institutions of the state to the extent necessary for the performance of their duties.
The measures to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism must be applied also by parties that exchange virtual currencies and mobile wallet providers, as well as businesses offering the cross-border cash and securities forwarding service. Just like under current law, the measures must be applied by banks, other providers of financial and settlement services and different providers of legal aid and consultancy services, real estate developers and gaming organizers.
The minimum limit for a cash amount to be deemed as big will be lowered from 15,000 to 10,000 Euros. The need to draft a new redaction of the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act arose as a result of the adoption of new standards for the prevention of international money laundering and terrorist financing drafted in 2012 and their transposition into EU law, the Ministry of Finance said.
The obligated parties would have a one-year transition period to ensure abidance by the new requirements. By way of exception, the requirement to notify the commercial register of the ultimate beneficiary would take effect from Sept. 15, 2017, and the requirement to make data available to competent institutions from Jan. 1, 2019.