No jail time for not keeping trust shareholders’ registry

PHILIPSBURG - Not keeping a registry of all shareholders of a trust will not be a punishable offence. This is so because Members of Parliament (MPs) requested that Justice Minister Roland Duncan strike the maximum three-month jail sentence from the new Penal Code passed on Friday.

The proposal to add the three-month sentence was brought as an amendment by Duncan on Thursday as deliberations on the Penal Code began. MP Leroy de Weever had objected to this, saying it was the criminalising of an activity that was not yet in the law.
The establishment of trusts, like those in the United States that are established by parents for their children, is one of the new features of the draft Civil Code that will soon be before MPs for handling. Duncan told the press on Friday that this would be a first within the Dutch Kingdom.
The minister said he concurred with De Weever's stance that this was making failure to keep an updated shareholders' registry for trusts and private foundations punishable when the possibility to create a trust did not yet exist.
Duncan added that creating the possibility for trusts was to encourage investment in the country, and to attach a punishment before it had been accepted formally by Parliament would defeat that purpose. The draft law dealing with establishment of trusts still has to be submitted to Parliament.
The current laws, including those governing the Reporting Centre for Unusual Transactions MOT, are sufficient to deal with the issues of money laundering and financing of terrorism, he noted.
Duncan submitted another note of change to the Penal Code to remove the jail time before MPs wrapped up their deliberations on it. That change, as well as the one to leave the conditional release of prisoners up to the Justice Minister, formed part of the Penal Code that was accepted by Parliament unanimously on Friday afternoon.

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