The Government of the Netherlands has said that it will take a step forward in its fight against tax evasion and money laundering by introducing a registry of ultimate beneficial owners of companies registered in the Netherlands.
Draft legislation for the introduction of a registry of beneficial ownership was published by the Ministry of Finance on March 31, 2017. Under the proposed legislation, which is currently subject to a four-week public consultation period, certain law enforcement authorities would have full access to the information on the register, including the Public Prosecution Service, the police, and the Tax and Financial Intelligence Unit.
Some information on the register will also be available to view by the public, although the draft law contains privacy safeguards for company owners who feel they may be put at risk of intimidation, violence, and other threats by having their details publicized.
European Union member states are required to introduce centralized databases of ultimate beneficial owners of companies under European Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for money laundering or terrorist financing, otherwise known as the Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive.