LUXEMBOURG: Jurisdiction faces legal claim against public nature of beneficial ownership information.

As published on internationalinvestment.net , Thursday 5 November, 2020.

The publication of personal data on the Luxembourg Business Register (LBR) has been legally challenged by a client of law firm Mishcon de Reya.

The first of its kind in Europe, the claim alleges that the indiscriminate and generalised publication, in the public domain, of personal details of individuals connected to family enterprises breaches their fundamental rights to data protection and privacy and exposes them to unnecessary and disproportionate risks.

On 23 October 2020 Mishcon de Reya LLP filed a claim with the Luxembourg courts to challenge a decision taken by the Luxembourg Business Register (LBR) with respect to making clients' private details public. Earlier in the year, the client had provided details of beneficial ownership to the LBR as required by local legislation but had requested that those details were not made public in the Register of Beneficial Owners of Companies (RBE), which is administered by the LBR.

The LBR rejected this request and so the claim was filed with the district court in Luxembourg with assistance from Luther S.A., a law firm based in the region.

Mishcon de Reya Partner Filippo Noseda said: "No one doubts the need for authorities to access beneficial ownership information in a timely manner in order to fight crime. However, privacy and data protection are fundamental rights and compliant citizens have a legitimate expectation to keep their affairs private."

The original intention of 4AMLD was to allow limited public access to beneficial ownership information, with company ownership information to be made available only to those who could demonstrate a 'legitimate interest' in it, and no access to information about private trusts or foundations. However, the adoption of the 5AMLD in 2018 made the details of beneficial owners of companies fully public.

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