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Case review: Swiss court's findings relating to Trusts and ownership in a divorce context

August 2012
Barmes, M. / Breitenstein, S. / Perrin, J. / Shayle, M.

On 26th April 2012 the Swiss Supreme Court issued its ruling in connection with interim measures ordered by the Geneva courts within the framework of divorce proceedings between two Russian citizens domiciled in Geneva. The case is of particular interest to the Swiss trust industry as the Swiss courts considered the extent to which assets held in trust may be subject to interim freezing orders within the framework of divorce proceedings initiated in Switzerland. This is the first such decision since Switzerland’s ratification of the Hague Trusts Convention in 2007. Regretfully, for a first attempt, we find the judgment of the court to be inconsistent. This may be explained by the fact that it is not always easy to comprehend the findings as only the final appeal Court’s decision has been published. In this Update you will find the background to the matter, the judgment of the court and our initial analysis, based on the published decision.

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