The new German Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, requires operations in Germany to disclose all beneficial owners that directly or indirectly own more than 25 per cent or control more than 25 per cent of the voting rights in a German company.

Fines for not complying with the new legislation are significant.

Transparency register

The new act introduces a transparency register that aims to prevent money laundering and terror financing.

A large number of companies registered in Germany will be required to disclose personal details about their beneficial owners.

The submission deadline for the required information was 1 October 2017. Access to the transparency register will be granted from 27 December 2017.

Information requirements

Companies in Germany are required to electronically submit the names, addresses, dates of birth, places of residence and the type and extent of the interests held by their beneficial owners.

The information about the type and extent of the beneficial interest must specify whether the beneficial interest results from the number of capital shares or of voting rights.

Access and fines

Access to the transparency register is provided for specified state agencies to the extent necessary to perform their legal duties. Anyone that can demonstrate a legitimate interest to gather the information can also gain access.

Failure to disclose beneficial owners can result in fines up to EUR 100,000 or for severe, repeated or systematic failure, the fine may amount up to EUR 1 million or twice the amount of the benefits resulting from the violation.