Lawyer Monthly - November 2022

• They hold, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares in an overseas entity • They hold, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the voting rights in an overseas entity • They hold the right, directly or indirectly, to appoint or remove a majority of the board of directors of an overseas entity • They have the right to exercise, or actually exercise, significant influence or control over an overseas entity • Are trustees of a trust, members of a partnership, unincorporated association or other entity that fulfil one or more of the conditions above • Where a person has the right to exercise, or actually exercises, significant influence or control over the activities of that trust or entity Until the introduction of the Act earlier this year, only UK entities were required to disclose their owners on a public register. However, under the new rules, The Register came into force in the UK on 1 August 2022 through the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (the “Act”). The Act requires any overseas entity (defined below) which currently owns or in the future acquires freehold or long leasehold land in the UK to register its ownership with Companies House. This must include a declaration of the beneficial owners or managing officers and needs to be completed by 31 January 2023. The UK government defines an overseas entity as “a legal entity, such as a company or other organisation, that has legal personality and is governed by the law of a country or territory outside of the UK.” According to this definition, the Republic of Ireland is considered an overseas jurisdiction. An individual or entity is described as a beneficial owner if they meet one or more of the following conditions: anonymous foreign owners will have to reveal their identity and records will be required to be updated on an annual basis. Once implemented, it will be simpler for the authorities to establish an organisation’s beneficiaries or controlling parties and thus to monitor and prevent fraudulent activity. The stringent data protection laws in place in the UK mean that, although cited as a public record, Companies House will not display any personal data of the beneficial owners. It is mandatory to provide information such as a complete date of birth, residential address and email address, but these are for the purpose of data collection only. The Act is applicable to all overseas entities who have purchased property or land on or after 1 January 1999 in England and Wales or 8 December 2014 in Scotland. To prevent non-disclosure by way of a SPECIAL FEATURE 29

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