The European Union (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Trusts) Regulations 2019 (the “Regulations”) came into force on 29 January 2019.
The Regulations impose requirements on a trustee of an express trust where the trustee is resident in Ireland, or where the trust is otherwise administered in Ireland.
A beneficial owner of a trust is all or any natural persons who fall within any of the following categories in respect of an express trust:
- Settlor of the trust,
- Trustee of the trust,
- Protector of the trust,
- Beneficiary under the trust (or where the individuals benefiting from the trust have not yet been determined, the class of beneficiaries under the trust),
- Person exercising ultimate control over the trust by direct or indirect ownership, or by other means.
Information to be obtained
The Regulations require trustees to take all reasonable steps to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information in respect of the trust’s beneficial owners.
Trustees are obliged to maintain a register of a trust’s beneficial owners (the “Register”) that contain the following personal details:
- Date of birth;
- Residential address;
- Date they were entered into the register; and
- Date they ceased to be a beneficial owner.
Trustees are required to keep the Register up to date and as soon as practicable after they learn that a person has ceased to be a beneficial owner or of any other changes such that the particulars on the Register are incorrect or incomplete.
Access to the Register
The trustees must also provide ‘timely access’ to the Register, on request, to the Revenue Commissioners or other State competent authorities. An Irish competent authority is permitted to disclose the information on that Register to its counterparts in other Member States.
Dealing with designated persons
Where the trustee of a trust enters into an “occasional transaction” with a designated person under Irish AML legislation (e.g., banks, accountants, solicitors), or forms a business relationship with such person, the trustee must:
- Inform the designated person that they are a trustee; and
- On request from the designated person, provide them with information identifying all the beneficial owners of the trust.
Sanctions for breach
Any breach of the Regulations is a criminal offence, exposing the trustee to a fine of up to €5,000.
A trustee of a trust within the scope of the Regulation has an immediate obligation to put in place procedures to ensure compliance.