EU court orders company ownership register to be closed to the public

The Dutch finance ministry has told the Chamber of Commerce to close off a register which allows people to find out who owns companies to outsiders, following a European court ruling.

The Ubo register holds information about who the ‘ultimate beneficial owner’ of a company or trust is, but family firms and shareholders have campaigned against having an open system because of the privacy implications.

On Tuesday, the European Court of Justice said the registers should be closed to the general public but remain open to the tax office and financial fraud investigators.

Finance minister Sigrid Kaag has now contacted the KvK, ordering it to close the registers to the public on a temporary basis, while the implications of the court ruling are examined.

Lobby group Familiebedrijven Nederland (FBNed) has welcomed the move, telling the Financieele Dagblad that a public register is not necessary to combat fraud and money laundering.

As yet it is unclear if banks will retain their access to the register

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