On February 23, 2017 the Italian Government approved the final draft of the legislative decree (the "Decree") that is going to implement the provisions of the Directive (EU) 2015/49 of May 20, 2015 (the so called "IV Anti Money Laundering Directive"). The decree was sent to the Parliament for its review and with the consent of the Parliament it will become law.
One of the key concepts of the new anti money laundering legislation is the definition of "beneficial owner", meaning, the natural person who must be properly identified by the persons or entities obliged to carry out the customer due diligence and report a transaction or legal arrangement whenever required under the anti money laundering law.
Whenever the customer is an entity, as opposed to a natural person, article 20, paragraph 1 of the Decree provides a general definition of beneficial owner, as follows:
The beneficial owner of customers different from natural persons is identified with the natural person or natural persons to whom, ultimately, the direct or indirect ownership or control of the entity is attributable.
The definition of beneficial owner of an entity revolves around two concepts: ownership, or control, of the entity. Also, the ownership or control can be direct or indirect.
The first test to apply is the ownership test.
Article 20, paragraph 2 provides on direct or indirect ownership as follows:
When the customer is company: