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03 Beneficial ownership register

3. Open and public beneficial ownerships’ register
Commitment Start and End Date Commitment Start: November 2018
Commitment End: December 2020
Lead implementing agency Ministry of Justice
Person responsible from lead implementing agency Mariam Galstyan
Title, Department Head of Anti-Corruption Policy Development Division of Anti-Corruption and Penitentiary Policy Development Department

Email: mariam.galstyan@justice.am Phone +37410-594023
Other actors involved Other state actors involved State administration bodies
Civil society, private sector FOICA, Transparency International, Armenian Lawyers’ Association
Issues subject to regulation Although the legislation in the Republic of Armenia (RA) prohibits public officials to be engaged in business activities, the lack of information about the ultimate beneficial owners of legal entities may actually enable the violation of this requirement and contribute to the spread of corruption.

After the Velvet revolution in the spring of 2018 the new government launched a real and effective fight against corruption and the disclosure of information about property owners can significantly contribute to the realisation of the government’s ambitions. With this commitment the government will adopt international beneficial ownership transparency standards and will monitor abuses of company ownership for illegal purposes. Taking into account the open will of the new government to eliminate corruption in all spheres, government of RA pledged to ensure the publicity of data on the real owners of companies operating in the country.

Main objective The main objective of the commitment is to open information on companies’ real owners to prevent and identify the misuse of company ownership for corruption offenses.

The publication of information of companies’ real owners will also support tax and law agencies to enforce the laws and regulations more effectively and carry out their functions and activities. The transparency of such information will promote the engagement of citizens in the fight against corruption and can increase trust in government. At the same time, it can have a positive effect in increasing investments in the Republic of Armenia.

Brief Description of Commitment The Government is committed to develop and implement a common mechanism for identifying the real owners of companies operating in RA, by creating and launching a comprehensive open and freely accessible register of beneficial ownership.

OGP challenge addressed by the commitment Publicity, accountability, enhancement of public integrity, innovation

Relevance to OGP values The Register will provide access to actual owners’ information, increase public confidence, increase transparency and public control, and thereby improve the accountability of companies.

Ambition The commitment is exclusive for Armenia and other OGP member countries. Armenia will have an effective tool for Civil society and the State agencies to determine the ultimate beneficial owners in all sectors of the economy operating in RA. This commitment is a comprehensive and inclusive program, which will lead to positive changes including a huge impact on the fight against corruption and money laundering. By doing so, Armenia will join the group of pioneer countries in the field of Beneficial ownership transparency.
Promotes efforts for implementation of SDG Goals or Targets 16.5 Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms.
17.17 encourage and promote effective public, public- private, and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships.
Verifiable and measurable criteria for performance of commitment Start End
Ongoing Actions
1. Development of a legislative package that establishes the framework necessary to meaningfully advance on beneficial ownership transparency and implement an open register of ultimate beneficial owners.
This legislative package will be based on a comprehensive analysis of international experiences on issues such as the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard, the definition of beneficial owners, verification and registration mechanisms, and the range of required documentation.
In addition, the development of the legislative package will include consultations with stakeholders, such as representatives of civil society and the private sector, and the presentation of a consolidated package to the Prime Minister’s Staff.
2018
November 2019
June
2. Presentation of legislative drafts package to the National Assembly
2019
July 2019
September
3.Development of a database (using the Beneficial Ownership Data Standard) of ultimate beneficial owners of all companies operating in Armenia within the State Registry which will be responsible of the technical implementation and discussions with civil society and the private sectors. The database will be open and freely accessible to the public and ensure adequate use and search capabilities.
2019
May 2019
December
4. Piloting the register by entering data of ultimate beneficial owners of companies in the metal mining industry operating in Armenia. This includes collecting, verifying, publishing, and resolving system problems which are encountered during the pilot.
2019
November 2020
June
5. Launch of an open and public register of ultimate beneficial owners and parallel launch of a public awareness campaign.
2020
October 2020
December