Macedonia is first according to the cost of obtaining data base of all companies in the country. This is shown by the two-year research “It’s none of your business” of the NGO “Access Info Europe”, the recently released Organized Crime and Corruption Project where the NGO Centre for Investigative Journalism SCOOP-Macedonia participated.
Of the 32 countries in Europe, in most countries (24), one must pay to get the data base of the entire registry of companies. The cost for the entire register of companies ranges from 75,000 Euros in the Netherlands, 286,000 Euros in Estonia up to 380,355 Euros in Macedonia, where according to the research, the costs are highest.
Free data base for all companies can be downloaded from the Danish registry, but it is necessary to have Danish identity documents, that is the data base is not available for non-residents. The database is also free in the United Kingdom.
However, in 19 countries it is possible to obtain separate data for each company and the costs range from 0.03 Euros in the Netherlands to 767 Euros in Russia. In six countries it is possible the data to be searched on the Internet, but only if you know information about companies or owners.
In 2013 SCOOP-Macedonia, using the right to free access to public information, requested the Central Registry of RM to provide us information about the number of companies for which they as institutions keep records. Our request was turned down on the grounds that this would “endanger the commercial interests”. We were asked to pay for the entire base of registers of companies. Then, the application was headed to the Public Revenue Office where we received information that they kept a record (at the time) for a total of 76,707 companies that were taxpayers.
According to the findings in the survey, lack of access to the registers of companies is one of the obstacles faced by journalists investigating corruption and organized crime.