The deadline for French companies to comply with the new law concerning the Beneficial Owners’ Register is fast approaching.

All companies, which are not listed at a regulated stock exchange, and which were duly registered before the 1st of August 2017 at the French Trade and Companies Register, must by the 1st of April 2018 disclose the information about their beneficial owners. A respective document must be filled in and submitted to the Registry of the Commercial Court.

Please note that newly constituted companies must immediately comply with this obligation. The information should be communicated immediately at the application for registration of the company with the French Trade and Companies Register. Otherwise they may provide the information at the latest 15 days after receiving the deposit receipt of the application.

Therefore, all Luxembourg corporations owning a French subsidiary by 25% are concerned by this mandatory disclosure obligation. The 25% criteria is however not an exclusive one: companies that hold an interest that allows them a control by other means over a French company are also subject to this obligation.

Further outlook: Please note that the European Commission is currently working on the draft of the fifth AML Directive that will strengthen the scheme of disclosure of beneficial owners. Amongst other things, it is foreseen to bring down from 25% to 10% the threshold defining the beneficial ownership.

This new obligation of French Law is based in the decree n° 2016-1635 of 1st December 2016 implementing the fourth AML Directive into French Law. In case of non-respect of the above-outlined obligations the decree provides sanctions such as imprisonment and fines for the aggregate amount of 7,500 euros.

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