On November 24, the Council of the European Union published a note (dated November 8, 2013) from the Council Presidency to Council Delegations which includes a UK issues paper on the fourth Money Laundering Directive (MLD4). The issues paper states that the UK welcomes MLD4, but notes certain points for discussion. In particular, the UK highlights the issue of beneficial ownerships of companies and misuse of trusts.
The UK suggests that central registries of company beneficial ownership would help to break through corporate secrecy and reveal who truly owns companies. To further this aim, the UK has pledged to make the UK’s central registry of company beneficial ownership publically accessible. The UK is also taking part in an automatic information exchange pilot with France, Italy, Spain and Germany in order to tackle tax evasion and the use of trusts for illegal purposes.
According to an EU press release, these issues were discussed at the November 2013 ECOFIN conference. Note. Press Release.