Banks will establish the ultimate beneficiaries of foreign trusts. Such a requirement will be established by amendments, which are introduced into the law on combating the laundering of proceeds from crime. The document is planned to be supplemented by foreign organizations without the formation of a legal entity, including trusts. The corresponding bill was submitted to the State Duma, it was developed in accordance with the recommendations of the international organization of the FATF.
In the law on combating the legalization of proceeds from crime, the concept of “foreign structure without legal entity”, which means the form of collective investment or trust management of property, a trust and other similar entity that is not a legal entity for a foreign law.
“By adopting this bill, we will be able to extend the rules on combating the laundering of such incomes on economic relations, in which all kinds of quasi-corporate structures participate, that is, formations without the status of a legal entity, contractual structures, etc.,” said one from Cabinet meetings Dmitry Medvedev.
Investment and trust unions are one way to avoid publicity when earning income and the opportunity to “hide” them from taxation. Therefore, an attempt to make trusts transparent will help to prevent crime and eliminate offshore schemes.
" So far, the law has stipulated that such control is exercised by Russian citizens, foreign citizens, domestic and foreign legal entities and stateless persons. However, in financial transactions, associations of legal entities and individuals are actively involved, about which there was no indication in the law, “- said the manager of the law firm Prime ligal Arik Shabanov. The absence in the legislation of the concept of “foreign structure without the formation of a legal entity” allowed trusts not to disclose their beneficiaries in Russia.
“Such changes are necessary, since their absence did not allow the application of the norms of the law on legalization of income to a certain range of legal entities, as well as foreign structures without the formation of a legal entity,” says Natalia Pobezhimova, head of the international projects department at the legal company URVISTA. As a result, a whole category of financial associations fell out of control.
At the same time, the bill clarifies the concept of “client”, to which it is proposed to include, among other things, a foreign structure without the formation of a legal entity. Russian organizations that carry out transactions with funds and other property are required to take measures to identify the beneficial owners of such customers.
From the definition it is clear that the obligation to establish the beneficiaries of foreign organizations first of all appears in banks. Credit organizations will have to establish the composition of the property of trusts, the names and addresses of the founders and the trustee.
" Such a law will be useful for a more complete understanding of the banks with which foreign client they are dealing with, “says managing partner of the SRG Group, Fedor Spiridonov. – And the question is not even the specification of the registration number, the taxpayer’s code or the location of the main activity. It is more important to know who exactly is the founder or trustee of the fund, partnership or trust. The application to foreign trusts of the so-called " anti-laundering " of the law is an attempt to make the process of combating money laundering more efficient and to cover possible loopholes in obtaining capital by criminal means. “
Today, trusts are the most non-transparent place for tax officials to hide income from taxation. But getting to the beneficiaries of structures with trust management of finances is not easy even with the adoption of the document. Directly from Russia, transactions with trusts are extremely rare. More often than not, it is a chain of transactions that lead the money to the trust.
The document also obliges banks to identify beneficiaries only in direct interaction with the trust, that is, if the trust organization itself is a client of the Russian bank.
In its current form, the law is unlikely to help establish the ultimate beneficiaries of trusts. At the same time, banks are burdened by conducting an investigation in order to restore the entire chain of money transfer to the trust – it means placing too much additional burden on them.
It is encouraging only that the process of identifying the ultimate beneficiaries, including trusts, is of an international nature today. The fourth directive adopted by the European Parliament in the spring of 2015 obliges each EU country to create a register of ultimate beneficiaries of companies registered on its territory. Including in such a register should enter trusts, even if they are located in offshore.
Unrestricted access to information contained in the registers will be obtained by law enforcement and public authorities of the EU, as well as “legally binding persons”, such as banks or law firms. The EU countries should form such registers by 2017.
Author: Infogrfica: Anton Perepletchikov / Evgenia Noskov / “RG”
2016 "Russian Business Newspaper" №1008 (29)