On 6 August 2020, the Cypriot Ministry of Finance finally published its proposed amendments to the Cyprus AML regime to take into account the requirements set under the 5th AML Directive (5AMLD), including details on its long-awaited public beneficial ownership register. The amendments form part of a public consultation focusing on elements which are at the discretion of member states under 5AMLD as well as other policy issues.
Comments and feedback on the public consultation should be submitted to the Ministry (by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org) in Word format on or before Monday 7 September 2020.
A warning to latecomers from the EU
Member states were required to implement 5AMLD into local law by 10 January 2020. The Cypriot government, along with a number of other member states, was (and continues to be) late in meeting the deadline. In consequence a Warning Letter was sent by the European Commission on 12 February 2020 (extract here). Warning Letters are the first step in infringement proceeding by the EU.
About the draft amending law
5AMLD was passed by the EU in 2018 and made a host of changes to the Fourth AML Directive to cater for the regulation of virtual assets providers, beneficial ownership registers and a focus on strengthening anti-terrorist financing measures following the Paris attacks of 2018. The Cypriot draft implementing/amending law broadly adopts 5AMLD in copy out format, but also contains preliminary drafting on those discretionary elements and other issues arising from comments in MONEYVAL’s Report on Cyprus in December 2019.
The draft law was prepared by the so-called “Ad Hoc Committee of the Advisory Authority for the Fight against Covert Offences” comprising representatives of the Ministry, MOKAS (Cyprus FIU), the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC). Representatives of local accountant and lawyer regulatory bodies (SELK / ICPAC and the Bar Association respectively) as well as the local companies’ registry also participated in the current draft.
We are working on an English translation of the proposed draft amending law and will post it on the blog soon.
Our earlier blog post on 5AMLD can be found here.