The Luxembourg Ministry of Justice has announced the temporary suspension of the online consultation of the RBE (Register of Beneficial Owners – UBO – in french “Registre des Bénéficiaires Effectifs“) after just a few hours from the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the illegality of the register.
The reaction of the Ministry of Justice to the decision of the CJEU on Tuesday 22 November is “Luxembourg will comply with European law and a solution allowing access to the RBE data by professionals as defined in Article 2 of the amended law of 12 November 2004 on the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing will be communicated shortly”.
The reasoning on the ruling refer to the fact that the access by the general public to information on beneficial owners constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for privacy and protection of personal data. From here, the suspension that suddenly wobbles the tool activated by the Grand Duchy on 1 March 2019, under the transposition of a European directive aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The CJEU’s investigations and related ruling are in response to a request started in early 2020 by the Luxembourg district court, following a long series of complaints filed in the Grand Duchy by beneficial owners against the allegedly intrusive nature of the register in their privacy. The RBE as organised in Luxembourg violates apparently the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.
In January 2022, the Advocate General of the CJEU issued his conclusions which tended to legitimise the regime of public access to information on the beneficial owners of companies. On its side the Court was not convinced by the arguments used in the conclusions and favoured the respect of the privacy and protection of personal data right (according to Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights) over transparency.