beck transparency

The introduction of the Money Laundering Act in Germany has imposed a number of obligations on companies domiciled in Germany, even if they do not conduct business involving large transfers of capital.

Among other things, the Money Laundering Act in Germany introduced the transparency register. The transparency register is to record the beneficial owners of companies and associations (e.g. GmbH, AG, associations) specified in the Money Laundering Act (MLA) (cf. for example the registration of ultimate beneficial owners in Denmark). By this register, the EU member states hope to combat money laundering and terrorist financing more effectively.

A beneficial owner is the natural person who directly or indirectly exercises significant control over the company - either through a direct shareholding or through the exercise of voting rights. One company can have more than one beneficial owner.

Until 31 July 2021, the notification requirement did not apply if the beneficial owners were already known from other - German - public sources (e.g. the German commercial register) and the information could be retrieved electronically. As of 1 August 2021, the notification fiction was abolished, and the transparency register was installed as a full register. However, companies in corporate forms that previously benefited from the notification fiction were granted generous transition periods. Yet for the AG, SE, KG auf Aktien (until 31 March 2022) and the GmbH, cooperative, European cooperative or partnership (until 30 June 2022), these transitional periods have expired. In all other cases (e.g. registered partnerships), the transitional periods will still run until 31.12.2022. By that date at the latest, it will no longer be sufficient for the transparency register to refer to other public registers.

Obligees must in any case enter the full personal data of their beneficial owners in the transparency register. Only this way the reporting obligation is realised.  

Violations of the obligations from the transparency register are administrative offences and might be punished with heavy fines. The amount of the fine depends, among others, on how long the MLA has been violated. Please keep in mind, the longer you wait reporting, the higher the fine may be. In individual cases, fines of up to EUR 100,000 may be imposed. In the case of serious and repeated infringements, the fine may increase to up to EUR 1,000,000.
What must be reported?

The following information on the beneficial owner:

+ First name and surname
+ Date of birth
+ Place of residence
+ Type and scope of the beneficial interest of the beneficial owner
+ Nationality

We will help you assess your obligations all the way up to the registration of the beneficial owner at a fair price. Please contact us for a free initial assessment.