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“Trust” – A New Concept in Russia

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In recent years, Russia has introduced several economic and political reforms, including a deoffshorization policy that some would say appears to be sound economic policy but others would say is more politically motivated by the centralization of power in the office of the President. In principle, the idea is to make Russian legislation friendly for Western investors, although the context suggests otherwise. Nonetheless, Russia is attempting to westernize its domestic laws and introduce economic concepts that are familiar to Western businessmen.


In 2014, the Russian government came out with a plan that would attack capital flight by residents. This was the so-called “deoffshorization” of investments. Among other things, this legislation increases the tax burden of many offshore holding companies by requiring payment of Russian taxes in the absence of any repatriation of profits. It also requires the disclosure of beneficial owners in the accounting statements of these holding companies. Again, these are concepts that are popular among policy makers in Western Europe, albeit in a different context.

Now, the Russian government is contemplating introduction of the “trust” into the Russian legal system. New laws are anticipated that are intended to formalize Russian arrangements where the nominal owner and the beneficial owner are separate individuals.