Section 21 GwG – Transparency obligations regarding certain legal arrangements

(1) 1Administrators of trusts (trustees) resident or located in Germany are required to obtain, retain and keep up to date the information specified in section 19 (1) on the beneficial owners of the trust they administer and the nationalities of the beneficial owners and to notify the registrar entity of this information without delay for entry into the transparency register. 2The obligation under sentence 1 also applies to trustees who are resident or located outside the European Union if they initiate a business relationship for the trust with a contracting party whose registered office is in Germany, or if they undertake to acquire ownership of immovable property located in Germany. 3The obligation under sentence 1 does not apply to trustees referred to in sentence 2 if a trustee has already transmitted the information under point (16)(a) of Article 1 of Directive (EU) 2018/843 and under section 19 (1) to another register of a member state of the European Union, and

  1. the trustee also has a residence or registered office in that member state of the European Union or
  2. one of the contracting parties with which a trust whose residence or registered office is outside the European Union also maintains a business relationship has its registered office in that member state.
    (1a) 1The notification must be made electronically in a format that allows it to be made electronically accessible. 2The trust must be unambiguously identified in the notification. 3With regard to the information on the nature and extent of the beneficial interest as referred to in section 19 (1) no. 4, the reason for the status of the beneficial owner under section 19 (3) no. 2 must be indicated.
    (1b) The registrar entity must also be notified by the entity obliged to make the notification under subsection (1) if the trust
  3. has been renamed,
  4. has been dissolved or
  5. is no longer obliged under subsection (1).
    (2) The obligations specified in subsections (1), (1a) and (1b) apply, with the necessary modifications, to trustees whose residence or registered office is in Germany of the following legal arrangements:
  6. foundations without legal capacity if the purpose of the foundation is, from the donor’s point of view, in their own interest and
  7. legal arrangements whose structure and function is equivalent to such foundations.
    (3) 1The German Financial Intelligence Unit and the supervisory authorities may, in the framework of their functions and powers, inspect the information stored by administrators of trusts under subsection (1) and by trustees under subsection (2), or have it provided to them. 2The information must be provided to them without undue delay.
    (4) In consultation with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry of Finance may, by way of a statutory instrument not requiring the consent of the Bundesrat, adopt more detailed requirements governing which trusts and similar legal vehicles are covered by section 21 (1) and (2) and the characteristics that define them.