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Who is the beneficial owner?

Beneficial owner refers to

  • the natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls a customer and/or
  • the natural person on whose behalf a transaction is being conducted.
  • persons who exercise ultimate effective control over a legal person or arrangement.

“Ultimately owns or controls” and “ultimate effective control” refers to situations in which ownership/control is exercised through a chain of ownership or by means of control other than direct control.

A natural person is considered to be the beneficial owners of a customer (legal entity, arrangement etc) when he/she owns or controls more than a specific percentage in the customer.

The specific percentage of beneficial ownership is determined in the national #AML Law.

More and more countries are establishing beneficial ownership registers for legal entities, trusts and other arrangements.

A beneficial ownership register enhances transparency and reduces the likelihood of concealing the beneficial owner of an entity.

In some countries, only competent authorities, law enforcement and obliged entities have access to the register.

In some other countries, the beneficial ownership register is publicly available.

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