An introduction to trusts
Whilst there is no doubt that trusts or similar legal arrangements can be created for a number of legitimate uses, both private and commercial, the illegitimate uses of trusts (as identified and highlighted in the past few years) have resulted in their receiving a lot of attention by the international community and highlighted their essential role in ensuring the BOT of legal entities. The inherent characteristics of trusts or similar legal arrangements usually make them attractive to criminals to hide and move their proceeds of crime. This is further complicated by the lack of uniform regulatory approaches and treatment of trusts in different jurisdictions (trust law and non-trust law jurisdictions) regarding the registration and disclosure requirements of domestic and foreign law trusts. The lack of uniform approach and understanding on the operation of different types of trusts has contributed to making these legal arrangements vulnerable to abuse by criminals. Nonetheless, the efforts at international and regional level to ensure and promote the BOT of trusts have been intensified in the past few years. These are analysed and discussed in more detail in the OO policy briefing, Beneficial ownership transparency of trusts.