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In implementation of the 4th EU Money Laundering Directive (2017), a transparency register was introduced to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The aim of this transparency register is to make economic links transparent and disclose them. For this purpose, the beneficial owners of legally obliged associations (e.g. AGs / GmbHs, foundations or associations) are to be recorded in the transparency register (Section 20 of the Money Laundering Act, in short: GwG). This also applies to non-profit and charitable forms of organisation such as associations, limited liability companies and foundations under private law (established according to §§ 80 ff. BGB).

What obligations follow from this for the legal representatives, for example of an ecclesiastical GmbH holding, an ecclesiastical association or an ecclesiastical foundation under private law? They must report data on the beneficial owners (§ 19 para. 1 GwG) of their association to the Transparency Register. This includes: First and family name, date of birth, place of residence, type and extent of beneficial interest and nationality. Who is the beneficial owner must always be examined on a case-by-case basis and cannot be answered in a blanket manner.

Violations of these reporting obligations (incl. reporting of changes) are sanctioned with considerable fines. In addition, the supervisory authority (Federal Office of Administration) can publish final decisions on fines on its website for public inspection for a period of five years.

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