On 29 March 2018, the Law pertaining to the registration of company service providers, last step towards a full transposition into Belgian domestic law of the EU Directive 2015/849 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing was enacted by the federal parliament.
Since 1 September 2018, from now on any natural or legal person, willing to provide third parties with the following services :
a) Take part in the purchase or the sale of a company’s shares, with the exception of those from a publicly-listed company;
b) Provide a registered seat to a company, a legal person or a similar legal arrangement;
c) Provide a business, postal or administrative address, as well as other services to a company , a legal person or similar legal arrangement.
has to pre-register with the the Directorate-General for SME (« Small and Medium Enterprises ») Policy near the FPS Economy (https://economie.fgov.be/fr/themes/entreprises/developper-et-gerer-une/enregistrement-des).
Registration is, however, only possible so long that the above mentioned persons respect the registration prerequisites provided for under articles 6 and 8 of the Law of 29 March 2018.
The company service providers who had already been providing services to companies before the Law of 29 March 2018 came into force have been granted a 6-month deadline to submit their application for registration, which means until 28 February 2019 at the latest. The company service provider may keep on pursuing their activities throughout the whole duration of the assessment of their application for registration.
The company service provider who provides services without prior registration, or who is registered but does not match anymore the registration prerequisites provided for under articles 6 and 8 of the Law or its implementing decrees may be sentenced to a 250 to 100 000 EUR fine (2.000 to 800.000 euros after penal increases).
The beneficial owners, managers and members of the board of directors of company service provider who is a legal person, who are in office when the fine gets issued and during the year, which precedes its issue, can be jointly held liable for these violations.
The service providers already targeted by the Law of 18 September 2017 on the prevention against money laundering or terrorist financing, and whose services might facilitate money laundering and terrorist financing, notably lawyers, notaries or else credit institutions.
For more information on this topic, please feel free to contact Guillaume RUE (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Cairn Legal team.