Greece: Obligation for registration of Ultimate Beneficial Owners

New law to combat money laundering in Greece.

The Greek Ministry of Finance announced the enactment of Law 4557/2018 and issued a Ministerial Decision whereby all types of entities operating in Greece are obliged to register the Ultimate Beneficial Owners with the Beneficial Owners Registry. The deadline for this requirement has been set for 19 January 2020.

Law 4557/2018 relates to the prevention and combat of money laundering and specifies that UBO’s are “the natural person(s) who ultimately own the company or control the company by holding or controlling directly or indirectly a sufficient percentage of its shares or voting rights or other ownership rights, including inter alia through bearer shares or other means.”

Holding a percentage of voting rights or ownership rights above 25% by a natural person is an indication of direct control. Holding a percentage of voting rights or ownership rights above 25% of a company by another company, whose control is exercised by natural person(s) or by multiple companies controlled by the same natural person(s), is an indication of indirect control. The control can be verified based on the prerequisites of paras 2 to 5 art 32 L 4308/2014 (Greek GAAP).

What happens if companies do not comply?

In the case of non-compliance, Art. 20 paras 8 and 9 of the Law, provides that tax authorities have the right to refuse the issuance of a tax clearance certificate for the subject legal entity and may impose a fine of €10,000 and a new deadline for compliance with the UBO provisions. If the deadline is not met, the fine shall be doubled.

No official correspondence has confirmed whether non-established entities with VAT Representation/agents in Greece will be subject to this obligation. We will continue to monitor and will provide an update on any changes.

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