The Council of the EU adopts AML package

Anti-Money Laundering: The Council of EU adopts the AML package.

AMLA HQ in Frankfurt

The adoption of the new anti-money-laundering (AML) rules aims to protect EU citizens and the EU’s financial system against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The new legislative package transfers all private sector anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CFT) rules to a directly applicable regulation, while a directive will handle the organization of national authorities fighting these crimes.

The regulation uniformly harmonizes AML rules across the EU, closing fraud loopholes. It extends AML obligations to new entities, including most of the crypto sector, luxury goods traders, and football clubs/agents. It also imposes stricter due diligence, beneficial ownership regulations, and a €10k limit on cash payments.

The directive enhances national AML system organization, specifying clear cooperation rules for financial intelligence units (FIUs) and supervisors.

Additionally, the new legislative package establishes the European Authority for Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMLA), which will have direct and indirect supervisory powers over high-risk entities in the financial sector. AMLA aims to enhance the AML/CFT framework’s efficiency by integrating national supervisors and ensuring compliance. It will also support non-financial sectors and coordinate with financial intelligence units (FIUs).

AMLA can impose financial penalties for serious, systematic, or repeated breaches of AML/CFT requirements. The directive mandates EU member states to provide centralized bank account register information via a single access point for FIUs. A separate directive ensures national law enforcement authorities have access to these registers and harmonizes bank statement formats. This access is crucial for fighting crime and tracing criminal proceeds.

The new AML directive also prescribes that EU member states make information from centralised bank account registers – containing data on who has which bank account and where – available through a single access point.

This is the final step of the adoption procedure. The texts will now be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force.

The AML regulation will apply three years after the entry into force. Member states will have two years to transpose some parts of the AML directive and three years for others.

AMLA will be based in Frankfurt and start operations in mid-2025.

Official source:

Council of the EU / Press release / 30 May 2024
Anti-money laundering: Council adopts package of rules

Click here to check out our related article: 24 Jan 2024.

Saudi Arabia: an emerging business center

Expansion to Saudi Arabia: An emerging business center

Expansion to Saudi Arabia: An emerging business center

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a compelling destination for businesses seeking new opportunities and growth. With ambitious economic reforms, strategic initiatives, and a dynamic business landscape, the Kingdom is poised to become the next global business center. Saudi Arabia’s hype and the fact it is attracting increasing attention from businesses around the world is not based on luck.

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sector contributed 50% of GDP for the first time last year. With the country’s unprecedented economic transformation well underway, the horizon for Saudi Arabia is bright with the promise of continued growth.

  1. Vision 2030: At the heart of Saudi Arabia’s transformation is Vision 2030, launched in 2016, a bold and ambitious blueprint for diversifying the economy, reducing dependency on oil, and fostering sustainable growth across various sectors. Through Vision 2030, the Kingdom has managed to create a vibrant and competitive business environment that attracts investment, stimulates innovation, and drives economic prosperity as well as promoting a sustainable community.
  1. Strategic Location: Situated at the crossroads of three continents, Saudi Arabia enjoys a strategic geographic location that positions it as a gateway to lucrative markets in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. With modern infrastructure, world-class transportation networks, and state-of-the-art logistics facilities, the Kingdom offers unparalleled access to global trade routes and investment opportunities.
  1. Economic Diversification: In line with Vision 2030 objectives, Saudi Arabia is actively diversifying its economy by investing in non-oil sectors, for instance tourism, entertainment, technology, healthcare, renewable energy, and manufacturing. These strategic investments are creating new business opportunities, fostering innovation, and driving sustainable growth across diverse industries.
  1. Business-Friendly Reforms: The Saudi government has implemented several business-friendly reforms to streamline regulations, enhance the ease of doing business, and attract foreign investment. As a result, these reforms include initiatives to simplify company registration procedures, improve intellectual property protection, and enhance transparency and accountability in the business environment.
  1. Investment Incentives: Saudi Arabia offers a range of incentives and support mechanisms to attract foreign investment, including tax incentives, financial incentives, and access to government grants and subsidies. Additionally, the Kingdom has established special economic zones and investment hubs to encourage investment in strategic sectors and regions.
  1. Thriving Business Ecosystem: Saudi Arabia boasts a thriving business ecosystem characterized by a skilled workforce, vibrant entrepreneurship culture, and robust support infrastructure. From incubators and accelerators to venture capital funds and innovation centers, the Kingdom offers a conducive environment for startups, SMEs, and multinational corporations alike to thrive and grow.

Saudi Arabia’s strategic vision, geographic location, economic diversification efforts, business-friendly reforms, investment incentives, and thriving business ecosystem position it as the next business center on the global stage. As businesses increasingly recognize the Kingdom’s potential, demand for expansion to Saudi Arabia is increasing dramatically as the country is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of regional and international trade, investment, and innovation.

Application deadline extended: 2013 Cyprus banks' haircut

Application deadline extended: Partial compensation of the 2013 haircut on Cyprus banks’ deposits

Application deadline extended: Partial compensation of the 2013 haircut on Cyprus banks’ deposits

In its announcement on 14/05/2024, the Cyprus Ministry of Finance informs of the reopening of the electronic service for submitting applications by affected natural and legal persons regarding their participation in the Replenishment Scheme of the National Solidarity Fund. Applications are accepted via the Ministry’s online service from 14 May 2024 until 25 May 2024.

It is pointed out that the affected Natural and Legal Persons should have the characteristics of a “private client” and their deposits and securities have been reduced during 2013 due to the implementation of consolidation measures in the two systemic Banks (Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank).

Please note that access to the electronic service for submitting an electronic Application for participation is made through the CY Login Profile as follows:
• For Natural Persons with a Cypriot identity card or residence permit in Cyprus (ARC) as well as Legal Persons with a registration number in Cyprus –> Registration and identification on the CY Login Government Portal (formerly Ariadne) is required.

• For Natural Persons who do not have a Cypriot identity card and are not residents of Cyprus as well as Legal Persons who do not have a registration number in Cyprus –> They are required to be registered on the Government Portal CY Login, and they will be identified when submitting their Application through the provision of certain additional items and documents.

Participation in the Replenishment Scheme of the National Solidarity Fund is done only via the submission of an electronic application and applicants are invited to submit their application no later than 25 May 2024, as the Ministry notes that it will not be possible to submit electronic applications after that date.

Our team is at your disposal for any support and guidance you might need regarding the Replenishment Scheme applications. Contact us here.

Partial compensation of the 2013 haircut on Cyprus banks’ deposits

Partial compensation of the 2013 haircut on Cyprus banks’ deposits

Partial compensation of the 2013 haircut on Cyprus banks’ deposits

The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus released a reminder announcement on 8 April 2024 regarding the launch of the electronic service “Participation in the Replenishment Scheme of National Solidarity Fund”. This scheme has been prepared in collaboration with the Deputy Ministry of Research with the purpose of partially contributing to the replenishment of losses that natural and legal persons incurred during the Cyprus bank haircuts of 2013.

The application deadline is on 30 April 2024 and the following eligibility criteria apply.

Submission of an online application:
• Both natural persons and legal entities to have the characteristics of a “retail client” and whose deposits and securities were impaired in 2013.
• Natural persons: people be over the age of 18; persons representing a deceased person; to have a Cyprus identity card or Cyprus residence permit (ARC).
• Legal persons: include but not limited to Companies, Associations, Foundations, Religious Institutions, Partnerships.

Both registration and authentication are required on the Government Portal CY Login portal (former Ariadne), for natural persons with a Cyprus identity card or Cyprus residence permit (ARC) and for legal entities with a Cyprus registration number.

Additional details at submission will be requested for individuals who do not have a Cyprus identity card and are not Cyprus residents, as they will not be authenticated through the Government Internet Portal CY Login. The same applies to legal entities which do not have a registration number in Cyprus.

Furthermore, in respect of the information provided regarding the impairment, the following requirements apply depending on the bank:
Bank of Cyprus: For impairment of deposits and securities at the Bank of Cyprus, it is requested to complete only any bank account number or Investor share code, without completing the amount that was impaired.
Popular Bank: For impairment of deposits and securities at the Popular Bank, only information for amounts that were impaired should be provided.

In addition, as far as natural persons are concerned, in the case of a joint account or joint investor share code, each individual should make a separate application.

Following submission of the applications, the potential beneficiaries of the Fund will be assessed and identified, and subsequently, the costing will be processed, and the Partial Replenishment Scheme will be prepared. More details and instructions will be provided to the applicants at a later stage.

Our team is at your disposal for any support and guidance you might need regarding the Replenishment Scheme applications.

Official sources:

Announcement MoF Press Office 20.12.2023

&

Reminder for online submission of applications MoF Press Office 08.04.2024

Tax Manager: job vacancy by Nobel Trust

TAX MANAGER: job vacancy

TAX MANAGER: job vacancy

At Nobel Trust we are seeking to recruit a high caliber person for the position of Tax Manager to be based in our offices in Nicosia.

Role and Responsibilities

Reviewing financial statements and tax returns and advising on tax and VAT matters based on Cyprus laws

Drafting tax rulings and tax memos

Assisting with tax structuring and resolving practically complex tax related issues

Knowledge of fundamental tax and legal aspects in relation to major foreign jurisdictions and application of Double Tax Treaties

Preparing presentations and publications on practical tax matters

Attending meetings and conducting negotiations with the tax authorities

Correspondence and communication with clients in respect to the above on a daily basis

Assisting with the firm’s business development with a focus on taxation and structuring

The profile of the ideal candidate

at least 5 years post-qualification experience in the field of taxation with a top-tier accounting firm

ACA/ACCA/LLM or equivalent qualification

good communication, organisational, supervisory, presentation and interpersonal skills

be a great team-player

strong computer skills

strong sense of commitment and responsibility

good command of Greek and English languages

Remuneration
A competitive remuneration package will be offered to the successful candidate according to his/her qualifications and experience.

Apply now
Please email your CV to the Management at Nobel Trust Ltd : [email protected]

Cyprus Naturalisation: new criteria

Cyprus Naturalisation: Revised application criteria

Cyprus Naturalisation: Revised application criteria

On the 22nd of March 2024, the Ministry of the Interior announced the receipt and examination of applications for naturalization submitted in accordance with the provisions of the Population Register (Amendment) Law of 2023.

The qualifications for naturalization, pursuant to article 111B(1) of the Population Register Law, which must be met cumulatively to submit an application for naturalization are the following:

  1. Legal and continuous residence for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application. Periods of absence that do not exceed a total of 90 days do not interrupt the stated period.
  2. During the 10 years immediately preceding the 12-month period, legal residence for cumulative periods of not less than 7 years.
  3. Good character.
  4. Adequate knowledge of Greek language at level B1.
  5. Sufficient knowledge of basic elements of the modern political and social reality of the Republic of Cyprus.
  6. Appropriate accommodation and stable and regular financial resources sufficient for maintaining the applicants themselves and their family members.
  7. Intention to reside in the Republic of Cyprus.

According to article 111B(2), the qualifications are differentiated for the individuals residing in the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of highly qualified employment in companies which are determined by the Decision of the Council of Ministers (no. 92.018, dated 15/10/2021), regarding the Strategy for Attracting Businesses for Activities or/and Expansion of their Activities in Cyprus, as well as for their family members. The following companies fall into this category:

  1. Businesses/companies of foreign interests operating in the Republic of Cyprus and operating independent offices in Cyprus, which are housed in suitable premises, separate from any private residence or other office,
  2. Cypriot shipping companies,
  3. Cypriot high-tech/innovation companies with products related to the aerospace industry, computers, IT, technology and communication, pharmaceuticals, biomedical equipment, research and development equipment, electrical machinery, chemicals, non-electrical machinery,
  4. Cypriot pharmaceutical companies or Cypriot companies active in the fields of biogenetics and biotechnology,
  5. The companies that are already registered in the Register of Foreign Companies of the Civil Registry and Migration Department.

The qualifications for the individuals falling under the provisions of article 111B(2) as well as for their family members, which must be met cumulatively, are as follows:

  1. Legal and continuous residence for 12 months immediately preceding the date of application. Periods of absence that do not exceed a total of 90 days do not interrupt the stated time period.
  2. During the immediately preceding 10 years from the 12-month period, to have legal residence for cumulative periods of no less than 4 or 3 years depending on the level of knowledge of the Greek language, i.e. A2 or B1 respectively. Periods of absence that do not exceed a total of 90 days per year do not count as absence.
  3. Good character.
  4. Adequate knowledge of the Greek language at level A2 or B1.
  5. Sufficient knowledge of basic elements of the modern political and social reality of the Republic.
  6. Appropriate accommodation and stable and regular financial resources sufficient for the maintenance of themselves and their family members.
  7. Intention to reside in the Republic of Cyprus.

Our team is happy to provide you with detailed information regarding the naturalization criteria and guide you through the application procedure. Please contact us at +357 22022777 or send us an email.

Cyprus Registrar abolishes annual company fee

Termination of annual company fee

Termination of annual company fee

On the 21st of March the Department of the Cyprus Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property announced that the annual levy of €350 is abolished from 2024 onwards. The annual fees for years 2011–2023 are still applicable.

It has also been clarified that the companies which have already settled their annual fee for 2024 will be refunded.

This measure will offer great relief and support to Cyprus companies and serves as a step to enhancing the local business environment.

Official Source

Late submission fee for Annual Reports HE32

Annual Returns (HE32): Late submission penalty fee has been set to €150

Annual Returns (HE32): Late submission penalty fee has been set to €150

The Department of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property announced that pursuant to the Companies (Amendment) Law 2024, Law 18(I)/2024, published in the Official Gazette on 5 March 2024 (the Law), the maximum fine for Annual Returns with a date of issue for the years 2021 and onwards will not exceed €150 for each infringement.

The fees are summarized below:

In case of timely registration: €20 form fee

In case of late registration: (i) €20 form fee, (ii) €20 as a charge, (iii) the corresponding late registration fee of €50 as a lump sum and €1 for each day of continuation of the infringement, up to a maximum total amount of €150.

According to the Law, persons who paid for the late submission of the 2023 HE32, from 05/03/2024 onwards, are entitled to a refund of any amount of fine exceeding €150. Such refund will be made as follows:

  1. For online payments made via JCC, the excess amount will be refunded directly to the card with which the payment was made, without any further action by the applicant.
  2. For payments made to the Cashier of the Department of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property, the additional amount will be returned to the applicant’s Bank Account upon presentation of the payment document, together with the FIMAS Payment Authorization Form, accompanied by a photocopy of the statement of the Bank Account to be credited (Authorization Form can be downloaded here).

Official source

Updates by Registrar regarding the BO register

Updates to the Beneficial Owners register

The Department of the Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property made the following announcement on the 28th of February 2024 based on the Beneficial Owner register:

1. All companies established or registered under the Companies Law, Cap. 113, all European Public Limited Liability Companies (SE) and all Partnerships (hereinafter Organizations) or their officers/partners are invited to access the Register of Beneficial owners until March 31, 2024 and to update it, either with details of Beneficial Owners, or by declaring their exclusion based on paragraph 3 (1)(a)(b) of Directive KDP112/2021 as it was modified, or by exercising the right of Due Diligence. From the 1st of April, monetary charges and other sanctions will be imposed for non-compliance.

2. From 1 April 2024 all the actions below will be available, and failure to comply with them will result in financial charges:

  • The Register of Beneficial Owners should be updated within 45 days from the day on which the Organization or its officers/partners became aware of the change of Beneficial Owners
  • The Register of Beneficial Owners should be informed within 90 days from the establishment of a new Organization, by the Organization itself or its officers/partners with regards to the Beneficial Owners’ details
  • From 01/10 until 31/12 of each year, the Organizations or their officers/partners should confirm the information included in the Register of Beneficial Owners
  • Within 30 days of receiving an electronic notification about data mismatch, the Organisation or its officers/partners should take necessary actions and correct such data

3. It is reminded that the following actions are still valid:

  • Online research in the records of the Register of Beneficial Owners
  • Request for exemption from disclosure of information
  • Request for access to the details of a minor

Do not hesitate to contact our team for providing you further explanation and assistance with respect to the Register of Beneficial Owners

Original source by the Department of Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property