EU: firms required to reveal true owners in light of Panama Papers

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Entities across the EU will be required to disclose their real owners under new legislation initiated by the release of the Panama Papers.

The agreement was seen as big step in the fight against money laundering and tax evasion and was welcomed by anti-corruption campaigners. However, the campaigners expressed disappointment that the trusts will notably escape scrutiny.

The revision of the EU’s 4MLD (fourth anti-money laundering directive) include the requirement for companies to reveal their beneficial owners in a public register; data on beneficial owners of trusts to be available to tax and law enforcement authorities. This includes sectors with a requirement to follow anti-money laundering regulations for example, lawyers. The revised terms also relates to a member state requirement which is to verify beneficial ownership information that is submitted to their registers. The last revision is in relation to extending anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism rules to apply to digital currencies, provision of tax services and those dealing in works of art.