The Spanish notariat can identify the beneficial owners of 2,229,372 companies and organisations

posted in: National news

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The Spanish notariat has put together a Beneficial Ownership Database (BOD), created under Law 10/2010 on the Prevention of Money Laundering, which allows public authorities to identify the hidden individuals behind corporations, foundations, associations, political parties and syndicates; even behind a tangle of shell companies. The Council General of Spanish Notaries created this database in March 2012, following a favourable ruling from the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

After five years in existence, this database now has accredited identification of beneficial owners for 1,678,681 limited liability companies, 68,937 corporations and 35,607 associations, foundations, political parties or syndicates. On top of that, 446,102 beneficial owners have been identified as such, before a notary and on public record, by representatives of companies or organisations.

During these years, judges, courts, police authorities and entities bound by the law (notaries, financial entities, auditors, insurers, etc.) have made more than 3,500,000 requests for information on beneficial owners of hundreds of thousands of companies and organisations identified in the database.

The information contained within it comes from the Notarial Single Computerised Index which is the cornerstone of notarial services in the prevention of money laundering, funding of terrorism and tax fraud. This index contains more than 110 million notarial documents relating to 146 million operations carried out by more than 40 million natural and legal persons.

In 2014, having assessed Spain with regard to the prevention of money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) noted that the fact our country is able to find out who are the beneficial owners behind Spanish trading companies is all down to the information contained on the Beneficial Ownership Database developed by the notariat. Last October, the Notariat’s Centralised Body for the Prevention of Money Laundering was invited to present the BOD at a meeting together with the G20 anti-corruption group (ACWG) and the FATF, and the notaries’ Beneficial Ownership Database received a very positive response.