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Minister of Commerce Extends Deadline for Registering Beneficial Owners Amid Criticism and Fines Controversy

The Minister of Commerce, Giorgos Papanastasiou, announced an extension until March 31 for the registration of all companies in the Register of Beneficial Beneficiaries of the Registrar of Companies. This decision follows a disturbance in the market, and the Minister has called on companies to comply and register their details by the specified date. Papanastasiou also awaits an opinion from the Legal Service regarding the possibility of canceling fines imposed since January 1, 2024, for non-compliance. The fines, which amount to 200 euros with an additional 100 euros for each day of delay, have faced criticism for their hefty nature.

Minister of Commerce Extends Deadline for Registering Beneficial Owners Amid Criticism and Fines Controversy

During a parliamentary committee session, stakeholders criticized the Registrar of Companies and the Ministry for the transition from the intermediate platform to the final platform concerning the Register of Beneficial Beneficiaries. Criticisms included narrow margins for re-registering details, system crashes, and substantial fines. The Minister acknowledged mistakes, expressed the intention to resolve issues promptly, and awaits the Legal Service's opinion. Members of the committee expressed readiness for new legislative regulations if necessary.

Papanastasiou emphasized the importance of creating a Register of Beneficial Beneficiaries for transparency and restoring Cyprus' name abroad. He admitted mistakes in the legislation's application, noting that all companies were treated as potential cheats. The Minister recognized weaknesses in the digital platform's creation due to tight timelines, with over 190,000 companies required to re-transfer details. The extension aims to rectify the confusion and create a comprehensive platform for registering real beneficiary companies.


The Registrar of Companies, Irini Mylonas Chrysostomou, clarified that companies can proceed to register their data in the system, accepting fines imposed, without immediate payment. Stakeholders, including the Vice-President of the Pancypriot Bar Association and representatives from the Association of Chartered Accountants, stressed the need for proportionate and dissuasive fines. The IBM company, responsible for the platform's creation, highlighted the challenge of transferring data from the intermediate to the final platform.

In statements, parliamentary committee members criticized the lack of coordination, exhaustive fines, and the impact on the market. They called for the cancellation of fines not incurred due to companies' faults and highlighted potential political and administrative responsibilities. The Minister's extension and willingness to reconsider fines received mixed reactions, reflecting concerns over the impact on businesses and the need for regulatory improvements.



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