The Beneficial Owners Register (Registre des bénéficiaires effectifs or “RBE”), has been operational since 1 March 2019. The Law of 13 January 2019 establishing the RBE, and transposing Article 30 of Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing (the “4th AML Directive”), as amended by Directive (EU) 2018/843 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 (the “5th AML Directive”) (the “RBE Law”), was published on 15 January 2019.
The RBE Law requires entities registered with the Luxemburg Trade and Companies Registry (Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés, Luxembourg or “R.C.S. Luxembourg“) to identify their beneficial owners by publishing them in the RBE.
However, Article 15 of the RBE Law autorises a registered entity or beneficial owner to request the limitation of access to information and personal data, on a case-by-case basis based on a reasoned request, to solely national authorities. Such a limitation may only be granted the duration of the circumstances justifying it, and for a maximum of three (3) years.
As soon as the request for limitation of access to information under Article 3 of the RBE is received, the data manager (gestionnaire), Luxembourg Business Registers Economic Interest Grouping, must temporarily limit such acess to only national authorities until it notifies its decision.
Article 15 (5) of the RBE Law provides for an appeal before a competent court for any entity or beneficial owner wishing to contest the data manager’s decision. This appeal must be filed within a short period of fifteen (15) days, starting from the date of publication of the opinion informing of both the limitation of access to the information and the date of the decision related thereto. Access to beneficial owner personal information remains limited solely to national authorities until the court has rendered its decision.
At this time, three preliminary questions have been posed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), with a particular emphasis on the interpretation of the concepts of risks and circumstances making such a request acceptable. This would require the court seized to keep the cases before it pending until the ECJ has rendered its decision.