HM Treasury in the UK have announced that an additional 19 countries have now joined the pilot project led by the UK with the help of France, Germany, Italy and Spain for the automatic exchange of information for all company beneficial owners.
The countries include: Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Sweden, Finland, Slovakia, Latvia, Croatia, Belgium, Ireland, Slovenia, Denmark, Portugal, and Estonia.
Furthermore, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council configuration (ECOFIN) held a meeting between all EU member states that established they will all be entering into a pilot project. Additionally, they announced that the Netherlands Presidency will lead and expand all work to be undertaken on the amendment to the fourth installment of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive (which will be deferred to the European Council and the European Parliament this month).
Finance Ministers have been pushing for the EC to consider enhancements to address issues regarding money laundering, in particular to enhance accessibility of beneficial ownership registers on legal entities, trusts and other corporate bodies.
It is hoped this will clarify the registration necessities for trusts, fortify customer due diligence regulations, and promote the automatic exchange of information on beneficial ownership between each jurisdictions authorities.