Over 180,000 firms could face fines under laundering rules

Just over a fifth of companies have submitted information with deadline next week

If they miss the deadline of next Friday, they may be liable to a fine of up to €500,000 upon conviction on indictment. Photograph: iStock

If they miss the deadline of next Friday, they may be liable to a fine of up to €500,000 upon conviction on indictment. Photograph: iStock

 

More than 180,000 companies could face fines of up to €500,000 if they fail to submit information by next week under measures to tackle white-collar crime and money laundering by next week.

Just over a fifth of the 234,000 companies obliged to submit information on beneficial ownership to the Companies Office have not yet done so. If they miss the deadline of next Friday, they may be liable to a fine of up to €500,000 upon conviction on indictment.

“A beneficial owner, for the purposes of this legislation, is a natural person who directly or indirectly owns or controls over 25 per cent of a relevant entity, or who controls that entity by other means,” said Mason Hayes and Curran partner Nick Metcalfe.

“If an entity cannot identify any persons who own a sufficient percentage or who exercise a sufficient level of control, then it must collate and submit information of its senior managing officials instead,” he added.

Information

Bodies incorporated before June this year have until November 22nd to submit the information that will ultimately be available to the gardaí, the Criminal Assets Bureau, the Financial Intelligence Unit and other bodies.

Addressing the low compliance rate, John Burns, the regional development manager in Ireland for the Chartered Governance Institute, said that “IT glitches and delays have meant that a six-month period to have these owners registered has been seriously affected”. He called for clarity on whether there will be an extension to the filing date, given the issues that have arisen.