The Serbian parliament has recently adopted a new law regarding the introduction of a central registry of ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs).

In force as of June 8th, the UBO law stipulates that entities and their authorized persons conducting business in Serbia shall have 30 days henceforth to identify their UBOs.

Applicability is broad in scope, as the UBO law applies to both Serbian entities but also foreign companies conducting business in the Republic. With respect to foreign entities, the UBO Law looks to what is a ‘registered entity’ in Serbia; the definition of which catches entities such as subsidiaries, institutions and branches of foreign investors and various business entities and associations.

The new central registry is expected to be fully operational by end of year; and registration of all requisite data will be required no later than 31 January 2019.

The new central registry is expected to be fully operational by end of year; and registration of all requisite data will be required no later than 31 January 2019.

Under Serbian law, UBOs are defined as natural persons. Note, however, that if a natural person cannot be identified, then a registered representative of the entity in question is deemed the beneficial owner of that entity.

UBO information to be submitted includes:

  • if a Serbian citizen – name, personal identification number, country of residence and legal basis for having the status of UBO; or
  • if a foreign citizen – name, passport number and state of issuance (i.e. other identification document), date and place of birth, place of residence, citizenship and legal basis for having the status of UBO.

The new UBO law also anticipates that in the event of subsequent UBO changes, that said information should be disclosed to the central registry within 15 days of said change occuring.

Entities will have the obligation to keep current and accurate records of their respective UBOs for 10 years. Disclosure shall be mandatory in the event of governmental requests. The central registry itself will keep permanent records, which will greatly facilitate cross-checks.

Breaches of the UBO law may result in both fines and in certain cases – in the event of a deliberate attempt at concealment or registration of inaccurate information (or manipulation of data) – individuals facilitating such activity can be held criminally liable with sanctions being up to 5 years imprisonment.