British businesses must collect and store data on their beneficial owners as of Wednesday, under a milestone deadline for the U.K.'s plan to launch a public register aimed at improving corporate transparency. Regulations adopted last year require businesses to develop internal registers that include the names, nationalities and birth months and years of individuals who hold more than 25 percent of shares or voting rights, or who wield control over the firms through voting rights or the power to appoint board directors. From June, firms that aren't listed on securities markets and limited liability partnerships must begin submitting the information...
One country considered high risk for money laundering and three medium-risk nations are negotiating to share company ownership records with the world's first open access, cross-border database of corporate beneficiaries, say sources.
The leak of millions of records purporting to show widespread exploitation of offshore financial centers by global leaders, lenders and criminals is expected to draw governmental scrutiny of illicit finance, however unevenly.
U.K. overseas territories officials in London this week pledged to create central registries or similar effective systems to share data on beneficial owners more easily with financial crime investigators, but didn't disclose when and how they would comply with the initiative.