President Ilir Meta has decreed law no. 112/2020 “on the Register of Beneficial Owners”. The law is a recommendation for Albania from the Committee of Experts for the Evaluation of Measures Against Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (MONEYVAL) of the Council of Europe.
It requires the identification and registration of beneficial owners of corporate entities and non-profit organisations in Albania, on a centralised registry.
The law is an important step forward towards transparency relating to owners and capital of corporate entities. Meta said that the law should be more clearly defined in terms of the obligation for declaration and registration of entities in relation to shares/quotas of capital or ownership interests.
He said it should be implemented immediately without any delays caused by the issuance of bylaws by the Council of Ministers.
The move could also be a step towards harmonising local laws with EU directives.
As per the 5th AML Directive from the European Union, corporate entities in each country are required to register ultimate beneficial owners and beneficial owners on a centralised register. This information is then publicly available to anyone and any time. When Albania finally joins the EU it will be required to bring local laws in line with the applicable AML directive at that time.
In an interview with Exit in November 2019, Gianluca Esposito, the Executive Director of the Group of States Against Corruption (GRECO) at the CoE said that money laundering and economic crime remain a threat for Albania. He noted that while on paper there is a “high level of political commitment” there is still work to be done.
He reiterated the importance of enforcing laws and legislation, not just creating them.