In July 2020, Albanian Parliament approved the law on ‘Beneficiary Owners‘, which aims to make public the beneficial owners of all companies and other corporate structures that are incorporated in Albania.
The law will apply to all corporate entities including companies and non-profit organisations that are resident in Albania or have branches here. It was one of the MoneyVal recommendations in order to prevent money laundering in the country. It would also help in the fight against tax avoidance.
Some salient points of the law include:
All corporate entities will be required to publicly register the names of their owners, ultimate beneficial owners, directors, and board members. These will be kept in a centralized Beneficiary Owners Registry.
The law will exclude trade people who exercise commercial activity but are not companies, such as sole traders. It will also not include state-owned companies, religions communities, and political parties.
Citizens will be able to access the register to request information on any company and its stakeholders.
The changes brought by this law will bring Albania in line with EU standards and international best practices. Failure to register or disclose stakeholders will result in a fine.
Despite the law being passed, some believe it will never ben enforced. Economists Pano Soko and Zef Preci told Reporter.al that they don’t think it will ever be realised.
“I don’t know if this register will ever be built. It was legislated but we don’t know if it will be realised or remain hostage by the companies or the orders of the ministers. This has happened with many other laws.”