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UBO (Ultimate Beneficiary Owner)

The Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) is the natural person(s) or entity(-ies) who, whether directly or indirectly, holds or exercises substantial control over a legal entity, such as a corporation, partnership, trust, or any other form of legal business structure. The identification of the UBO is crucial for regulatory, legal, and risk management purposes, especially in the financial sector. This concept emerged primarily out of concerns related to financial crimes, as legal entities can be used to mask the true ownership and control of assets, making it easier to conduct activities like money laundering, financing of terrorism, and tax evasion.

The criteria for determining a UBO may vary across jurisdictions, but typically, it is based on a certain ownership threshold (often set at 25% or more) of the capital or voting rights of a company. However, control can also be exercised through other means, such as by contractual arrangements or through family ownership, making the true determination of a UBO a complex process at times. Given the global push for increased financial transparency, many countries have established or are in the process of establishing UBO registries to maintain records of the ultimate beneficial owners of companies registered within their territories.

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