France to Publicize Beneficial Ownership Information
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
France intends to put in place "as soon as possible" a central registry
of information on the beneficial owners of companies and trusts, which will
be open to the public.
The pledge was made by the French Government as part of its action plan to
tackle corruption, which was announced at last week's Anti-Corruption Summit
in London. The measure is intended to "ensure that information on beneficial
owners of companies, trusts, foundations, shell companies, and other entities
or legal arrangements are fully accessible to tax administrations, law enforcement
agencies and financial intelligence units (FIUs)."
Finance Minister Michel Sapin said: "This summit is located at a key moment
and we [have] the opportunity to demonstrate our collective commitment to promote
a new era transparency. To effectively fight against international corruption,
we must 'expose' the corruption, we must 'expose' the financial flows that seek
to hide. This can not be done without a strong commitment to international cooperation."
Additionally, the French action plan called on countries to implement centralized
registries of bank accounts "ensuring full access for FIUs and prosecution
authorities to these records, quickly and respecting data protection, in order
to more effectively combat financial crime, including corruption."
France also said that it supports the European Commission's proposal to require
large companies to make public their country-by-country transfer pricing reports,
although a number of EU member states, including Germany, oppose this idea.
France is one of the more than 20 jurisdictions taking part in a pilot scheme
to share beneficial ownership information, which involves several EU member
states and UK offshore territories. It has also committed to exchange financial
account information with foreign tax authorities from 2017 under the OECD Common