FSA signs MoU on Info Exchange with Gambling Commission of Alderney

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services at 9:28 pm by Robert Klien

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) (former Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA)) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (“AGCC”) as regards Mutual Assistance and Exchange of Information.

The document was signed by Ms. Jennifer Morel, the Chief Executive Officer of the FSA and Mr. Jorn Starck, the Executive Director of the AGCC.

By virtue of the Seychelles Gambling Act 2014, the FSA is the regulator of casino, slot machines and interactive gambling business. The AGCC, through the Gambling (Alderney) Law, 1999 is the regulator of gambling on the Island of Alderney, the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands.

In consideration of the growing globalization of gambling services, the financial regulators of the two jurisdictions recognize the importance of establishing a framework for mutual cooperation and consultation to ensure compliance to relevant laws and the facilitation of the performance of their respective regulatory functions.

The MoU formalizes the willingness of the two Authorities to cooperate with each other in the interest of fulfilling their respective responsibilities and functions.

The main areas of cooperation under the MoU include mutual assistance and exchange of information, as well as allowing for joint investigations.

The signing of the MoU reveals a continuance of the relationship between the two institutions. It also marks an important step towards the strengthening of its regulatory functions and
the enhancement of its relations with other reputable jurisdictions.


Credit Card Scams in Seychelles

Posted in Financial Services, Seychelles banking at 2:17 pm by Robert Klien

Since August 2015, the police were alerted to 3 incidents involving attempts of fraud of credit cards by card skimming devices in Seychelles.

In these 3 different incidents, the Seychelles Police arrested some people suspected to be involved in these fraudulent activities.

The first incident involved 3 Bulgarians. More than 800 credit cards had to be replaced after it was discovered that there were attempted thefts of information on these credit cards. In the hotel rooms of the Bulgarians, the Seychelles police discovered evidences related with the attempted fraud on the credit cards.

In another case, 2 Russians were arrested in early September in possession of 70 credit cards. They will be formally charged with attempted fraud. The police arrested them at the Seychelles International Airport situated on Mahé, on September 1. At the arrest, 70 empty credit cards as well as devices for copying information on credit cards were discovered in their luggage.

The third case involved 2 Americans arrested last week in possession of what police suspect to be counterfeit credit cards. The investigation is still ongoing, however they too will formally be charged for fraud attempts soon.


Seychelles and Qingdao promoting mutual trade and investment

Posted in Bilateral Treaties, Business and Economy, Double Taxation Agreements, Financial Services, Foreign investments, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles infrastructure, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 1:16 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles and Qingdao, a major port city of China’s eastern province of Shandong, have widely discussed trade and investment opportunities between entrepreneurs from both jurisdictions.

A 1-day business forum was held on May 12 in the northern part of the Seychelles main island of Mahé, where about 30 local companies and representatives of some 20 businesses from Qingdao could have business-to-business meetings and discuss the possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, banking, import and export, shipping, and construction.

According to the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB), it had responded to the Qingdao delegation’s proposal to organise the forum as the group are currently on a tour of the Indian Ocean to establish business contacts and develop partnerships.

SIB’s Chief Executive, Rupert Simeon, told SNA that the Qingdao delegation have already been to Mauritius and are now heading to Sri Lanka.

It should be noted that a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) already exists between Seychelles and China allowing businessmen operating in the two countries to pay tax in one of the jurisdictions and avoid taxation in the other, aiming to encourage trade and investment between the two jurisdictions. Also, Seychelles is a member of both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade alliances and was recently welcomed as the 161st member of the World Trade Organisation. So, there should be much interest from Chinese businesses especially in the offshore sector that are using the tax structures in place to invest in the region.


Seychelles Confirms Tax Amnesty

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Seychelles legislation, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 2:49 pm by Robert Klien

The availability of an amnesty on penalties and interest for businesses that have outstanding tax debts and returns has been confirmed by the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC).

Further to measures to boost tax compliance announced in the 2015 Budget, the Commission has implemented a debt recovery plan. This plan will apply to business tax arrears for tax years up to 2013 (for amounts payable in 2014), and for withholding tax, duties, and all other taxes, for payments due for tax years up to 2014.

To settle their outstanding tax as at December 31, 2014, or to submit outstanding returns, taxpayers have 3 options. The program offers:
a) a 100% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by May 31, 2015;
b) a 50% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by August 31, 2015;
c) a 25% waiver of penalties and interest on arrears cleared by October 31, 2015.

The Seychelles Revenue Commission is urging taxpayers to take advantage of the amnesty and settle their tax liabilities.

In order to complement the arrangements, there will also be a more aggressive stance on debt collection.


Seychelles has nothing to hide as regards tax transparency

Posted in Financial Services, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles offshore jurisdiction at 3:40 pm by Robert Klien

Seychelles rejected charges that it was one of the world’s 5 most secretive tax havens for the very rich, saying that it had nothing to hide.

In November, the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes listed Seychelles among 5 states that either failed to share taxpayer details with other countries or to gather information on beneficial ownership of corporate entities registered on their territory.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that oversees the forum stated that the Seychelles failed the test because its legislation does not work well enough.

Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam said: “Despite there being no concrete examples of non-compliance, the assessment perhaps judged that the smallness of our jurisdiction, and our capacity to regulate in relation to the fast rise of our financial services sector, represented a risk”.

He emphasized that Seychelles had a wide network of tax exchange information agreements including with 15 European jurisdictions and had complied with every request for information.

“We have made clear we have nothing to hide and have opened ourselves to the widest scrutiny possible,” said Adam.

The OECD said that international companies, banks and agencies might think twice about investing through the 5 jurisdictions. Apart from Seychelles, the list included the British Virgin Islands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Cyprus.


Seychelles Fiscal Reform Agenda

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, International Organisations, International relations at 2:17 pm by Robert Klien

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Seychelles is in good stead to achieve its medium-term debt reduction target. The IMF said this when welcoming the forthcoming introduction of a value-added tax regime from January 2013, as a key feature of the jurisdiction’s revamped tax regime.

A visiting IMF mission reported that the government has made “sustained progress” in implementing the IMF-supported program.

The IMF stated that “All end-June 2012 quantitative targets under the program were met – some, including the fiscal primary balance target, by a wide margin.”

It also found out that “The Seychelles economy has shown resilience in the face of the difficult global environment. Economic growth has held up thanks to increasing tourist arrivals from non-traditional markets; fiscal policies have remained firmly on track toward the government’s target of bringing public debt down to 50% of gross domestic product by 2018; and debt restructuring is nearly complete.”

“The broader structural reform agenda is also moving ahead, with implementation of the electronic clearing house and completion of a study on utility tariff reform. The mission welcomes adoption of the value-added tax, and notes that delayed implementation to January 1, 2013 does not materially affect the reform agenda.”

Looking ahead, the International Monetary Fund said that the Seychelles’ open economy remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. The Fund stressed the importance of rebuilding the territory’s fiscal buffers. To support the government’s efforts, the IMF has approved a 1-year extension to an IMF financial assistance program, until December 2013, and an increased quota worth an additional USD 10.2 million. In return, authorities in the Seychelles have committed to a number of economic policies and reforms to lock in the fiscal gains achieved to date.

The introduction of a VAT regime comes following several years of fiscal reform. Local authorities have reduced the personal income tax rate from 18.75% to 15%, effective October 1, 2010, and on January 1, 2011, the personal income tax rate for expatriates was hiked by 10%, introducing one harmonized rate of personal income tax for all employees in all sectors.


Seychelles can become African financial technology hub

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Offshore Banking, Seychelles banking at 4:10 pm by Robert Klien

At the 17th anniversary lecture of the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), Seychelles has been praised as having the potential to become the financial technology hub for African countries.

The event’s guest speaker, Arun Jain, chairman and chief executive of Polaris Financial Technology Ltd., a leading global financial technology company, said: “Being an archipelago in the African continent with a small population, Seychelles has the natural advantage for creating a niche for itself in the financial technology space. It has the potential to become the Financial Technology Hub for African countries and extend its expertise to neighbouring countries and position itself as a global financial technology stronghold. The late adoption of automation will be a boon for Seychelles since they will get the most advanced technology unlike some developed countries which still run on legacy systems.”

Other guests at the event were Seychelles’ President James Michel, the Governor of CBS Pierre Laporte, and the chairman of the Seychelles Bankers Association Michael Benstrong, who is also the managing director of the Seychelles Savings Bank.

Mr Jain addressed ministers, foreign dignitaries, bureaucrats, bankers, businessmen and academicians speaking on the theme of “Technological Innovations Driving Financial Services”.
He stressed the role of
– Smarter Identity – Single Identity for every citizen which could be used for
(a) banking transactions,
(b) social commerce transactions,
(c) government to citizen transactions;
– Smarter Infrastructure – Shared Financial Technology Infrastructure where all banks invest as shareholders and pay-per-use to drive efficiency.


Seychelles targets Russian investors at conference in Prague‏

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, Foreign investments, International relations, SIBA at 3:38 pm by Robert Klien

A Seychelles’ delegation has attended a 2-day conference. The event was held in Prague on November 10-11, 2011.

The event was organized by the SIC Corporation based in the Czech Republic with the support of the Seychelles Investment Board (SIB). The conference targeted mainly Russian investors interested in investing.

The delegation was led by Investment, Natural Resources and Industry Minister Peter Sinon. Also, there were members of the delegation from the SIB, the Central Bank of Seychelles, the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA), and several domestic private financial services sector companies.

This conference aimed to tell investors about various emerging opportunities and possibilities for investment in Seychelles. Also, the event was used as an occasion to formally nominate the partners of SIC Corporation as candidates for the Trade and Investment Representatives’ of Seychelles in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent (CIS) countries.

In his opening speech, Sinon emphasized that Seychelles is a well-positioned jurisdiction and that there is an increase in trade and investment potentials between Africa and the growing emerging markets of the Far East. He stressed that the jurisdiction is a politically stable, open, welcoming, multi-cultural and idyllic destination in the middle of the Indian Ocean that is a potential powerful platform for offering financial solutions and related services.

Seychelles has maintained a good relationship with Russia and the CIS countries. Investment from this part of the world has significantly contributed to the figures for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Seychelles.

It should be noted that, in accordance with the data revealed by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Russian Federation is the largest outward investing emerging economy surpassed only by Hong Kong. Russia stands ahead of Brazil, China and India. This is the motivation for trying to get to know specific and interested investors in what Seychelles has to offer.


Seychelles to get Stock Exchange

Posted in Business and Economy, Financial Services, SIBA at 1:24 pm by Robert Klien

This year, the financial system of the Seychelles, which currently is bank-based, is to get a boost as a stock exchange will be opened in the jurisdiction.

Chief executive officer of the Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA), Steve Fanny, said that SIBA is responsible for setting up the stock exchange and the Seychelles Stock Exchange will start operating in 2011.

Many Seychelles’ companies as well as big hotels will qualify to be listed on the Exchange.


Seychelles signs TIEA with Netherlands

Posted in Financial Services, International Organisations, International relations, Seychelles government at 2:51 pm by Robert Klien

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA)  was signed between the Seychelles and the Netherlands. This is the first agreement of this kind for the Seychelles, but not the last one, the Seychelles government following its policy to develop Seychelles international business and financial services sector.

The Seychelles and the Netherlands have agreed to incorporate the OECD standard for such agreements into their TIEA. This will encourage tax authorities of both parties to exchange taxpayer information for specific purposes, including countering tax evasion and money laundering. Also, according to the agreement , neither tax authority can refuse to provide information solely because it does not require the information for domestic purposes, or because it is held by a bank or similar institution.

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