The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has announced the launch of its online platform for the Cyprus Beneficial Ownership Register of Express Trusts and Similar Legal Arrangements (CyTBOR).
The platform is now accessible to trustees and will be accessible to all citizens from June 17, according to the regulator.
The necessity for the creation of the platform derives from the Prevention and Suppression of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Law of 2007 (AML/CFT Law), which CySEC says is in full accordance with the EU's 4th and 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directives.
CyTBOR facilitates searches for up-to-date information and data about the beneficial owners of express trusts, which can be property or companies and other similar legal arrangements.
It is now possible to directly search and identify the settlors, trustees, protectors (if any), beneficiaries and any other natural person exercising final control over the trust through direct or indirect ownership, or by other means.
"This is a very important project both for the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission and our country, helping to provide full transparency and compliance for all supervised entities, ensuring the credibility of the market,” said Dr George Theocharides, chair of CySEC.
According to Dr Theocharides, in addition to CySEC, all supervisory authorities, such as the country’s customs and taxation departments, as well as the police, will have unhindered access to the register within the framework of their responsibilities.
Furthermore, it is possible to provide timely information on the beneficial owners of express trusts and similar legal arrangements to the respective competent authorities of the other EU member states and, additionally, as part of due diligence and identification measures of their clients, all liable entities will also have access too.
In recent years, Cyprus has faced criticism from international authorities for its effectiveness in dealing with money laundering.
In 2020 for example, the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Cyprus, as well as Malta, over their so-called “golden passport” schemes. The programmes, which enable investors to effectively buy EU citizenship, are against EU law, the commission argued.
Meanwhile, MONEYVAL, the Council of Europe’s money laundering body, said in an assessment of the country earlier this year that it has made some progress.
Although Cypriot authorities had implemented several compliance improvement measures, they did not do so in time for them to be assessed by the institution, and a number of other shortcomings still needed to be addressed at the time of the assessment.