Malta Business Registry Shuts Down Public Access to Beneficial Owners Register
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Malta Business Registry Shuts Down Public Access to Beneficial Owners Register

On the 25 November 2022, the Malta Business Registrar announced that the Malta Business Registry (MBR) is limiting access to the register of beneficial owners to competent authorities and subject persons only.  As a result, the beneficial owners register will not be accessible to the general public.

The MBR’s decision is a direct response to the recent judgment delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in its ruling of 22 November 2022.  The ECJ held that, the provision of the Directive on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, which provides that Member States must ensure that information on the beneficial ownership of companies and of other legal entities incorporated within their territory is accessible in all cases to any member of the general public, is invalid.

Specifically, the EJC held that “while the Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) register pursues an objective of general interest that may justify an interference with fundamental rights, the measure goes beyond what is strictly necessary and is disproportionate to the objective pursued.”  In this regard, the Court held that the disclosure of such personal data violates the privacy of the UBOs and therefore, “Member States must have appropriate safeguards in place to protect the privacy and personal data of UBOs.”  As a result, the MBR instructed subject persons to register with the MBR’s portal to gain access to the beneficial owners register and reminded those who are already registered users to apply for access under the ‘Profile’ tab.

Contact Ecovis Malta if you want to know more about the implications of the Court’s judgement or if you require any assistance with registering for access to the beneficial owners register.