The Hague District Court has rendered a judgment in the summary proceedings brought by the Privacy First foundation. In the judgment, the Court acknowledged that there is reason to doubt the legal validity of the EU guidelines that form the basis of the UBO register. The UBO register requires all companies and legal entities to register persons who have an interest of more than 25% in the company in the publicly available UBO register. The measure has the purpose of preventing and eliminating financial and economic crimes such as money laundering, the financing of terrorism, corruption and tax evasion. The Hague District Court found that the public nature of the UBO register is inconsistent with the fundamental EU principle of proportionality due to the massive infringement on privacy which has the potential to create real personal security risks.
However, the court declined to temporarily suspend the UBO register because this would have the consequence that the Netherlands was in violation of its obligation under EU law to implement the relevant EU guidelines. Furthermore, since a preliminary question on the on the legal validity of the EU directive has already been submitted to the EU Court of Justice by a court in Luxembourg, the Hague District Court did not consider it useful to do so. We are therefore waiting for a decision on this issue from the EU Court of Justice.