Tantular v AG: Royal Court in Jersey provides clarification as to the impact of saisies judiciaires on discretionary trusts

In June 2014, following an application made by some of the beneficiaries of the Jasmine Investment Trust, the Royal Court held, in Tantular v AG [2014] JRC128, that a saisie judiciaire may not be granted over the assets of a discretionary trust merely on the grounds that the offender (or suspected offender, as the case may be) is a beneficiary.

The trust, which formed the basis of the application, was a Jersey law discretionary trust, in conventional form, which was established in June 2004. The assets of the trust comprised three companies, two of which owned property in Singapore. A third company, of comparatively little value, held certain investments, cash balances and insurance policies. The settlor of the trust was the president of an Indonesian bank who stood accused of various fraud and money laundering offences in relation to his position, having previously been convicted of certain banking offences. A restraint order had been obtained in Indonesia in respect of the assets of the trust and the assistance of the attorney-general was duly sought in order to enforce that order in Jersey. Accordingly, a saisie judiciaire, a kind of freezing order, was granted on 9 August 2013 over both the realisable property of the settlor and the assets of the trust.

The beneficiaries of the trust were stated to be the settlor’s wife, his three children and his wife’s younger sister (the applicants in this case). The settlor was also a beneficiary and, in a letter of wishes to the trustee in June 2004, he requested that the trustee consider him to be the principal beneficiary…

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