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Andres Knobel, Markus Meinzer ■ Should Europe Trust Trusts? (Part 2 of 2)

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Tax justice reports
Tax justice reports

Should Europe Trust Trusts? (Part 2 of 2)

Trust regulation is full of holes. We argue that every jurisdiction should require registration in a central and public registry of the beneficial owners of (a) all domestic law trusts and (b) all trusts with any connection point to a jurisdiction. Given the complex ownership structures of trusts and the potential for subterfuges, their “beneficial owners” should include all related persons: all settlor(s), protector(s), trustee(s), beneficiary(ies), and any other person mentioned in a trust document. This comprehensive list of beneficial owners is based on standard provisions required by the OECD.

Trust regulation is full of holes. We argue that every jurisdiction should require registration in a central and public registry of the beneficial owners of (a) all domestic law trusts and (b) all trusts with any connection point to a jurisdiction.

Given the complex ownership structures of trusts and the potential for subterfuges, their “beneficial owners” should include all related persons: all settlor(s), protector(s), trustee(s), beneficiary(ies), and any other person mentioned in a trust document. This comprehensive list of beneficial owners is based on standard provisions required by the OECD.

Key findings

  • trusts are in many ways a greater threat to democracy than opaque shell companies – yet also harder to crack.
  • trust regulation has Several holes. It needs reform.

Key recommendations

  • every jurisdiction should require registration in a central and public registry of the beneficial owners of (a) all domestic law trusts and (b) all trusts with any connection point to a jurisdiction

Additional resources

Drilling down to the real owners – Part 1 is available here: https://www.taxjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/TJN2016_BO-EUAMLD-FATF-Part1.pdf