Launch of the UBO Register in Aruba
On July 7th this year, the Parliament of Aruba adopted the draft National Ordinance which amends the Trade Register Ordinance and the National Ordinance for the Prevention and Combating of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT State Ordinance). The amendment necessitates the mandatory registration of beneficial owner(s) of enterprises, legal entities, or trusts with the Chamber of Commerce in a “UBO register”.
The introduction of the ultimate beneficial owners (UBO) register in Aruba is a critical tool in preventing and exposing financial and economic crimes such as money laundering, tax fraud, or even financing terrorism. It does this by detailing UBO details in a central registration system and prevents criminals from misusing the opacity of organizational forms to hide their identity and the real purpose of the organization.
UBOs are individuals who own (>25% of the shares or voting rights) or otherwise exercise control over the organization. These individuals have a responsibility to submit the UBO details to the Aruba Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is responsible for maintaining and updating the records of the register. Violation of the responsibility to submit the UBO details accurately and timely may be met with administrative or criminal penalties.
Competent authorities, as designated by the National Decree, such as the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the Central Bank of Aruba (CBA), and the Aruba Police Force (KPA) will have unlimited access to the register. Limited access can be granted to those service providers who are required to do customer due diligence, client identification, and reporting of suspicious transactions. In the context of privacy, the UBO register is not accessible to the public. Those who do receive access are obligated to retain confidentiality unless required otherwise by law. They are also obligated to report any discrepancies found between the information about UBO from the commercial register and information obtained by other means.
The UBO register will take effect as of January 1, 2023. For existing organizations, different timelines are managed, depending on the nature of the entity. For example, foundations must register within 6 months, and companies and legal entities within 18 months after entry into force. New entities established in 2023 will have to register within one week of establishment or from the start of conducting business activities.