Russia sanctions – new restrictions on provision of trust services

The Russian sanctions regime now includes a ban on providing trust services to those connected with Russia.

On 16 December 2022 the Russia (Sanctions (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No.17) Regulations 2022 (“the Amendment Regulations”) came into force in the UK. The changes introduced by the Amendment Regulations are automatically effective in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with effect from 16 December 2022, with the exception of some changes to trade-related restrictions which will come into force on 1 January 2023.

Crucially, for Guernsey trust and corporate service providers, Regulation 18C was added to the existing regulations, and targets the provision of trust services to, or for the benefit of, designated persons, (meaning those subject to sanctions), and persons connected with Russia, (meaning those ordinarily resident or located in Russia).

However, the prohibition on the provision of trust services to those connected with Russia does not apply where the trust services were being provided immediately prior to the Amendment Regulations coming into force.

Paragraph (7) of Regulation 18C further explains “trust services”.

(7) In this regulation-

“trust services” means –

  • The creation of a trust or similar arrangement,
  • The provision of a registered office, business address, correspondence address or administrative address for a trust or similar arrangement, or
  • Acting or arranging for another person to act as trustee of a trust or similar arrangement, where “trustee”, in relation to an arrangement similar to a trust, means a person who holds an equivalent or similar position to a trustee of a trust.”

Paragraph (5) of regulation 18C explains that trust services are “for the benefit” of a person where:

  • a person is a beneficiary of a trust or similar arrangement
  • a person is referred to as a potential beneficiary in a document from the settlor relating to a trust or similar arrangement (such as a letter of wishes), or
  • having regard to all the circumstances, a person might reasonably be expected to obtain, a significant financial benefit from the trust or similar arrangement.

It is also important to note that, for the purposes of paragraph (5), “beneficiary”, “potential beneficiary” and “settlor”, in relation to an arrangement similar to a trust, means those persons who hold equivalent or similar positions to those described in sub-paragraphs (a) to (c) of that paragraph in respect of a trust.

This results in the Amendment Regulations covering a broad range of fiduciary and corporate services relating to trust and similar structures. The contravention of either prohibition set out in Regulation 18C is a criminal offence.

Those affected by these new restrictions should ensure they are clear as to the measures which should be taken, which are:

  • All businesses must familiarise themselves with the new restrictions and check whether they have any kind of relationship that will be affected by the new restrictions.
  • Any findings should be reported to the Policy & Resources Committee immediately.
  • Any information or queries should be sent to sanctions@gov.gg with the subject line “Russia Sanctions”.
  • Any relevant findings should also be reported to the Financial Crime Team at the GFSC, via email to amlcft@gfsc.gg.

 

If you would like any further information on this subject or if we can assist with queries or uncertainties, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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