UAE Firms Must Disclose Ultimate Owners by Next Month or Be Subject to Fines

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Fines would be levied on companies that do not disclose the identity of their real owners.

Safia Al-Safi, the director of the Anti-Money Laundering Department at the UAE Ministry of Economy, in an interview with CNBC Arabia, said fines would be levied on companies that do not disclose the identity of their real owners, effective of July 1st, which is to apply companies except for government-owned corporations or publicly traded entities.

This new legislation is in order to increase transparency of information and to combat anti-money laundering activities.

The requirement will be to ensure all corporate entities maintain a real beneficiary, in addition, Emirates ID or passport copies should be provided.

According to the Resolution, real beneficiaries are individuals who own or ultimately control a corporate entity through the direct or indirect ownership of 25% or more of an entity’s shares or voting rights. The Resolution also provides that such control can also arise through other means, such as by having the right to appoint or dismiss a majority of a company’s managers. The Resolution sets out additional factors to consider when determining a real beneficiary; however, if ultimately no individual can be identified, the real beneficiary will be the person who oversees senior management (i.e. the person(s) having the decision making authority of an entity) and has the right to appoint or dismiss most of the Managers.