The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on 22 November 2022 that public access to the beneficial owner registers of EU member states is invalid, as it contravenes articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
In particular, the court highlighted that general public’s access to information on beneficial ownership constitutes a serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, as it enables a potentially unlimited number of persons to find out, retain and disseminate the material and financial situation of a beneficial owner.
The practical effect of the above ruling shall be expected in due course, while forthcoming regulatory developments are expected to take place following the reaction of competent authorities and legislative bodies.
ECJ’s official press release can be found here.
ECJ’s full text and résumé of the judgment can be found here.