The Belgian Law of 18 September 2017 (the “Law”) implementing the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive of May 2015 (the “4th AML Directive”) has established the Ultimate Beneficial Owners Register (“UBO Register”) in which Belgian companies, non-profit organizations, foundations, trusts and other similar entities have to record their ultimate beneficial owners.

The deadline for encoding beneficial owners for the first time is 30 September 2019. However, the administration will apply a tolerance policy until 31 December 2019, during which time no penalties will be applied.

As a reminder, in the event of non-compliance with the Law, directors are liable to an administrative fine of between EUR 250 and 50,000 and criminal fines of between EUR 400 and 40,000.

Due to this policy of tolerance, administrative fines will therefore only be applied in the event of non-registration by 31 December 2019. There is uncertainty about criminal fines. Theoretically, criminal fines remain applicable in the event of non-registration as at 30 September 2019. However, it would be surprising if the judicial authorities adopted a repressive policy while FPS Finance applied a policy of tolerance.

By Charles Price & Sébastien Popijn