MENA Group Meeting – January 2021

January 04, 2021

The call started with an informal exchange about vaccine roll out in each jurisdiction and the likelihood or otherwise of a MENA Group meeting in Dubai on 7th March. Most accepted this timeframe may not be realistic but that we should keep it in mind and be hopeful.

Urs Breitsprecher of Reef – Rechtsanwälte and Katherine Evans of Mirkwood Evans Vincent gave their presentation. There was a lively discussion with a number of questions, during which the following additional points were made/raised:

  • In Germany and Portugal, it is not possible to set up a company without a bank account
  • In UK it is possible but setting up the bank account can be challenging. The presentation identified various possible solutions
  • In Spain, it is relatively easy to set up a bank account provided that you appear in person before the bank manager and can satisfy the UBO and KYC requirements.
  • In UAE, UBO and KYC requirements are strict and the bank requires the shareholders to attend at the bank to open the account rather than directors. This is contrary to the position in UK and Germany where the bank signatories must be directors.
  • In Cyprus, although there are UBO declaration requirements and strict KYC requirements, there is currently no requirement for a company register to disclose UBOs. This has been highlighted by the government as a forthcoming legislative attraction for 2021.
  • Fintech solutions such as Transferwise and Revolute were discussed. Both have KYC requirements prior to use of the service. Transferwise requires Tax ID for the recipient of any money. Once business transactions go through the account, further KYC is required by Transferwise. For Revolute, once transactions go above a particular threshold, William reported that additional checks are then undertaken.