Initial Coin Offering

When people hear the term Initial Coin Offering, a few things come to mind. Cryptocurrency is probably one of the biggest trends today both online and on print media. The high acceptance of the digital currency by the general public continues to birth ideas like the presale of cryptocurrency coins or a blockchain project. This idea has gone to become a very successful instrument in raising funds for new application development. This article explains the meaning of Initial Coin Offering- ICO and the current trends.

Initial Coin Offering Explained

Initial Coin Offering just means that some individual offers investors some units of a new cryptocurrency in exchange against other crypto-tokens like Ethereum or Bitcoin. ICOs have become a tool for cryptocurrency development since the year 2013. The token pre-created is sold and traded on all cryptocurrency exchange as long as there is demand.

Ethereum ICO was a successful one, and this has caused more people to continue to initiate and encourage development funding by releasing the crypto-token and integrating it into the project. Because of the rapid adoption, Initial Coin Offering could go on to become a currency of a whole financial system. The potential of ICOs growing to become the securities and shares of tomorrow is a great possibility.

A Brief History on Initial Coin Offering

It is possible Ripple the first Cryptocurrency distributed by an ICO. Ripple Labs began developing their payment system which created about 100 Billion XRP token. By selling this token to investors, the company was able to fund the project development.

Later that year, Mastercoin began working towards creating a layer on top of Bitcoin for secure execution of smart contracts and tokenize Bitcoin transactions. Many other cryptocurrencies have been funded with Initial Currency Offering, and many smart investors are looking to join the trend and share the proceeds.

The legal state of Initial Coin Offering

Legality has somehow been an issue when the topic of ICO is mentioned. The token is not being sold as a financial asset but as a digital right. The funding of an ICO is not often regulated, but the process can be made easy and paperless provided an experienced lawyer in setting up an Initial Coin Offering.

In any case, some jurisdictions are well aware of ICO funding and tend to regulate them just like securities and shares. Some people argue that in the future, Initial Coin Offering will most likely be controlled and that could bear some financial and legal risks for the investors, hence the need for legal advisors from experienced ICO law firms.

Finding law firms that help with Initial Coin Offerings has become easier than ever before. According to Lionel Iruk, “there are lots of companies that consult for ICOs.” His law firm has helped in consulting for more than 20 ICOs so far. “By no means are we the only ones out there, so we recommend doing some research associated with your particular ICO.”

Lionel Iruk is a managing partner at Empire Global Partners and the Iruke Law firm, a multi-national consultancy and Law firm focused on helping clients set up Alternative Financial Fund-Raising structure, such as ICOs, legally and lawfully all around the world.

Written By: Lisa Palmer

Learn More

The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) turned an otherwise dull July Tuesday into a turning point in the development of Blockchain based virtual coin or tokens in the USA when it released an Investor Bulletin on Initial Coin Offerings in the USA (‘Bulletin’) on July 25, 2017. The SEC Bulletin which was not expected by most experts in the sector and came as a reminder that the SEC is keeping a close eye on the development of the blockchain and virtual currency sector in the United States. Itshowed that SECwas willing to step in to regulate the sector if it saw any developments, which can be considered even remotely connected to securities trading.

ICO offering

For beginners, the SEC as its name appropriately describes is a regulatory agency of the US Government dealing with the regulation of the securities and exchanges market in the US. The SEC aims to protect the US investor and promote efficient and transparent capital markets. It deals with securities (including exchanges and dealers), mutual funds and also advisors.

The SEC has traditionally dealt with securities offerings by companies, but throughthe July 25Bulletin, the SEC has explained that it is aware that a new generation of companies have sought to raise funds through ‘Initial Coin Offerings’ (‘ICO’). The ICO process refers to theselling of virtual coins or tokens (‘VC’) issued by a company or capital raising entity for fiat currency, funds or even other types of virtual currency.These VC are frequently based on distributed ledger or blockchain contracts which work on the basis of computer code. According to the SEC, the VC can be ‘a digital representation of value that can be digitally traded and functions as a medium of exchange.’ The SEC highlights that the exchange of fiat currency or funds to VC takes place in Virtual Currency Exchanges (VCE). The SEC has also underlined the role of ‘virtual organizations’ or other capital raising entities which create these VC.

The main observation which the SEC has made through the Bulletin is that “in certain cases, the tokens or coins will be securities and may not be lawfully sold without registration with the SEC or pursuant to an exemption from registration.”  It further goes on to state that VCE ‘may not be registered securities exchanges or alternative trading systems regulated under the federal securities laws.’The SEC has also tried to distinguish between Crowdfunding contracts and ICO’s and has asked people to evaluate compliances with crowdfunding regulations and also securities law.

SEC Bulletin cirtual currency

The Bulletin by SEC has come as a largely positive development for the ICO industry as for the first time; it has a firm reference point to fine-tune its operations and avoid future hurdles. Contrary to the highly negative initial interpretation of certain industry commentators wherein they perceived the SEC Bulletin as a potential death knell for all ICO and suggested that all future ICO will have to be registered with the SEC, the SEC has issued a relatively open ended statement.

The SEC has merely stated that “depending on the facts and circumstances, the offering may involve the offer and sale of securities”. It has also stated certain requirements “if the virtual token or coin is a security.” The use of the word ‘may’ and ‘if’ in these sentences show that any VC may not necessarily be a ‘security’ and every ICO process may not be a sale of ‘securities.’ The assessment would depend on a case by case analysis and would also necessarily involve an evaluation of the rights which are derived from the rights acquired through the purchase of the VC and if the rights which are granted may potentially make it a ‘security.’ The exact evaluation of what may be considered as a ‘security’ is open to interpretation and a qualified attorney may be able to make a more precise assessment depending on individual circumstances. For those interested in the subject, a reading of the definition of ‘security’ in Section 2 (a) (1) of the Securities Act, 1933 may be a good start.

For the industry and investors alike, the SEC Bulletin and the DAO Investigation Report broadly highlighted the loopholes and the necessary improvements required in the ICO process to comply with regulations. Additionally, it will help the industry determine the exact nature of ICO’s that they seek to issue, the characteristics which will be associated with the VC and if they would actually want to issue an ICO in the US or target US investors. The investor, on the other hand, will have greater clarity on the value of his VC and the remedial options before him in case his investment is affected.

From an initial assessment of the ICO process and the SEC Bulletin, we have understood that VC’s may be considered to be of three main categories- Coin not as a security, coin as a security, coin as an option, warrant or a swap. Depending on this understanding, certain forms of ICO’s may be required to register as a security, commodity or even in the money services business. In some cases the VC may have multiple forms and may fall into multiple categories.

For ease understanding and ready reference, the following table might be used although it is not comprehensive:

We at Empire Global Partners are continually following the developments arising in the rapidly changing ICO sector and will provide you immediate updates on any changes arising in the future. We have a team of experts ready to help you with the preparation of an ICO and setting out the documentation required for the process.You can reach the experts at Empire through phone at +60350331665, by our website www.empireglobal.partners and or by email at info@empireglobal.partners. We offer clear written contract agreements clearly mentioning the applicable charges including the refund policy, in the unlikely event that the application is unsuccessful.

 

 

The Government of Vanuatu has finally published the widely expected changes to the Dealers in Securities (Licensing) Act [CAP 70] (‘DSCA’) through the notification of the Dealers in Securities (Licensing) Amendment Act No 11 of 2017  (‘Amendment Act’) on 16 June 2017. The amendments have been brought to ensure that the legislation in the country complies with the AML/CTF standards, which have been prescribed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Vanuatu Forex Security License conditions changed

The changes in legislation can be broadly classified into three groups:

  • Changes affecting new license applicants
  • Changes affecting existing license holders and renewal applications
  • Changes affecting all license holders and new applicants

In this article, we will focus on presenting the important changes in all the three categories in a simplified manner to enable interested parties to comply with them. For readers who are learning about the possibility to obtain a Forex License from Vanuatu for the first time, we recommend you to visit our Vanuatu page to understand the context of this article and also know how a Vanuatu license can enable you to join the Forex business with minimum investment.

A.  Changes affecting new license applicants

The first major change for new applicants of a Vanuatu Forex License applicant is that application for only a ‘Principal’s License’ is no longer possible. An application for a Principal’s License now has to be accompanied by an application for a ’Representative’s License’.
The second major change is with regard to the documents which need to be submitted for a Principal’s license and a Representative’s license. For a Principal’s License, the new Section 4 of the DSCA states that in addition to the old requirements of submission of Notarized Copy of Passport of the applicant, Police Clearance with notarized translation (if necessary) and the business plan, additional documents need to be submitted in the form of:

    1. A bank reference letter showing the proof of source of funds to pay the Capital and
    2. A bond of Ni- Vanuatu Vatu (VUV) 5 million (approx USD 50,000) to be deposited with the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission (VFSC)
    3. Statement which shows in detail the exact activity which will be carried out under the license and information on the products which will be provided by the applicant
    4. The latest profit and loss report audited by an independent auditor and certified by a Public Notary if the applicant has been operating for more than 12 months from the date of application
    5. A detailed overview of the internal organization, controls and corporate governance including information on the manner of keeping books and records showing receipt of investments and the mechanism for withdrawal of the instrument including on maturity.
    6. A report from an independent certified risk assessment professional stating compliance with Anti- Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorist Funding (CTF) regulations.
    7. disclosure regarding internet related or e-commerce businesses of the licensees (if any)
    8. resolution of directors appointing the Representative of the Principal Licensee
    9. declaration which states that the applicant (and directors, if any) are unaware of any information which may cause the Commissioner to doubt the competence, integrity or financial resources of the directors, applicant, and Representative or their ability to undertake business as per provisions of the DSCA.

Depending upon whether the applicant is a Corporation or a natural person, there is a requirement of submission of additional documents. In case, an applicant is a natural person, the applicant has to provide certified copies of academic transcripts, curriculum vitae (CV) and independent references from two persons. For an applicant which is a corporation, the documentary requirements are more detailed and include:

  • Certified copies of registration and license in the home and/or foreign jurisdictions.
  • Statement of director outlining the financial standing and assets and liabilities of the Company.
  • A ‘professional indemnity cover’ for the appointed representative and other officers of the applicant.

The application for a ‘Representative’s License’ also needs a few additional documents in the form of certified copies of academic transcripts, curriculum vitae (CV) showing at least three years of professional experience in fund management, securities and investment, independent references from two persons with contact information of the persons to confirm their reference and professional experience and a document showing proof of residence of the applicant. Much like the requirement for a ‘Principal’s license’ a declaration which states that the applicant is unaware of any information which may cause the Commissioner to doubt the competence, integrity or financial resources of the Representative and/ or the Principal or their ability to undertake business as per provisions of the DSCA is required.

B.   Changes affecting existing license holders and renewal applications

The changes in the legislation affect existing license holders as well. The documents required for application for a new license as mentioned above will have to be submitted by existing license holders as well to the VFSC within 16 December 2017 (six months of the promulgation of the amended DSCA- Section 29 of Amendment Act). The bond amount of VUV 5 million (approx USD 50,000) however has to be paid only when the license comes up for renewal.
The first among the changes which exclusively affect existing license holders is the new requirement to submit a detailed report outlining the activities which were carried out in the license period including

  • The number of investors and funds invested by them
  • Product in which where the funds were invested and the jurisdiction where investments were made
  • Information on withdrawal of funds and reasons for withdrawal
  • Report on complaints from investors and response to the complaints
  • A financial report showing total turnover by the applicant during the license period

In addition to these documents, a financial statement prepared by an independent auditor in accordance with International Accounting Standard must be submitted within three months of completion of an anniversary date.

 The second major change affecting existing license holders is that they are required to apply at least one month before anniversary date for the renewal of a license. Section 4B of the new DSCA provides that licenses will now be valid for one year which means that an application for renewal has to be made one month before the completion of a one year period (anniversary date). During the transition period, it is expected that the VFSC will allow for renewal of licenses which are scheduled for renewal before one month purely as a temporary measure.

Vanuatu Legislation governing Forex Licenses

C.   Changes affecting all license holders and new applicants

There are a few major changes which will affect new applicants’ as well existing license holders. The first among them is the prohibition on sale or transfer of a license. Also, if the shares of a company holding a license are transferred to a new owner, the Principal’s License is canceled automatically and the new owner will have to apply for new licenses.

The second major change is that all Principal Licensees will now be required to submit a quarterly report to the Commissioner stating:

  • The number of investors and funds invested by them
  • Details of the products offered and jurisdiction where they were offered
  • Vetting process followed for investors
  • Information on refusals made and the reasons for refusal
  • Information on registered agents, offices, shareholders and beneficial owners
  • Report on any complaints received from investors.

We at Empire Global Partners are continually following the developments arising in Vanuatu and will provide you immediate updates on any changes arising in the future. We have modified our processes to comply with the changes in regulations and our team of experts is ready to help you implement the required changes in your business and also establish new businesses in Vanuatu which still remains one of the most attractive jurisdictions to obtain your Forex license. You can reach the experts at Empire through phone at +60350331665, by our website www.empireglobal.partners and or by email at info@empireglobal.partners. We offer clear written contract agreements clearly mentioning the applicable charges including the refund policy, in the unlikely event that the application is unsuccessful.

Port Vila, Vanuatu: It is a destination which may not be present on the itinerary of the most seasoned back packer and when you land here for the first time you really wish it remained the same. Vanuatu is one of the rare tourist destinations of the world which has still not been severely changed by commercialisation and an influx of tour operators. An evening of solitude and siesta is still a possibility in Vanuatu and must enjoy privilege before it changes forever. And while you are in Vanuatu do not forget to have the mandatory glass of Kava served on coconut shell, because such an experience is not available anywhere else across the world.

The Government of Vanuatu has however sought to diversify the revenue sources of the island and ensure that it is not dependent of sporadic seasons of tourist influx. It has tried to promote the island as a financial services destination by promulgating investor friendly legislations and establishing an Independent Financial Services Business Regulator called Vanuatu Financial Services Commission.

The Vanuatu Financial Services Commission acts as the single regulator for formation of corporations and issuance of financial licenses for other services. The licenses are issued in a hassle free manner increasing their attractiveness for foreign investors.

Forex Licenses in Vanuatu:

Obtaining a Forex License from Vanuatu is the most preferred option for any entrepreneur seeking to join this field. Compared to other jurisdictions the process in Vanuatu is hassle free and requires lesser documentation and verification. The process of obtaining a license is however divided into the following four steps:

Establishing a Company in Vanuatu

The preferred company form for a Forex License is the Vanuatu International Company. The Vanuatu International Company is formed under the International Companies Act and has important qualities of confidentiality and tax free status.

The main features of these companies are:

  • The shareholders can be one or more natural or legal persons and do not need to reside in Vanuatu.
  • One or more managers may be selected for the company and they need not reside in Vanuatu.
  • Resident directors and agents can be appointed in Vanuatu on the payment of a small fee as specified in law.

The registration of a company can take place within a very short time period normally around 3-4 months and after registration, we can immediately proceed to the next steps. The Articles of Association, Power of Attorneys and other associated documents can be arranged by Empire on request.

Bank account opening in Vanuatu

After formation of a company, the next important step is the opening of a bank account in Vanuatu for conducting business. The bank accounts can be opened in two prominent banks:

  • National Bank of Vanuatu which provided a low account opening and maintenance fee with a Debit Card.
  • Pacific Private Bank which does not provide a Debit Card and is more expensive in terms of fees and charges.

The documents for KYC (Know your Customer) requirements for the banks are as follows:

  • Name of the Shareholder(s)
  • Address of the Shareholder(s)
  • Name of the Director(s)
  • Address of the Director(s)
  • Number of shares to be issued
  • Initial value of the shares to be issued
  • Currency of the share capital
  • Currency of the bank account to be opened (if relevant)
  • Name of the signatory(ies) on the bank account (if relevant)

 The following details of the company are also required:

  • A notarized copy of the passport of the shareholder(s) / director(s)
  • A recent extract of criminal record (less than 3 months) of the shareholder(s) and of the director(s) – translated and notarized in English if necessary
  • Proof of address of the shareholder(s) and director(s) – Translated in English
  • A non-photo ID of the signatory(ies) of the bank account

The account opening duration depends on a case to case basis, but it is relatively on par with global standards.

Obtaining a Security License

The penultimate but probably the most important step is obtaining a Security License which is necessary for Foreign Exchange trading in Vanuatu. The licenses are granted by the Vanuatu Financial Services Commission and are governed by the Dealers in Securities (Licences) Rules.

The applicant has to be made by a natural person and not a legal person and the applications have to be accompanied by the following documents:

  • NotarizedCopy of Passport of the applicant;
  • Police Clearance and notarizedtranslation where necessary; and
  • An outline of the business plan.

Recently the Government has also brought new legislations called the Prevention of Fraud Regulations which are meant to protect the interests of investors and need tobe mandatorily complied with.

Registration with the Financial Intelligence Unit

The Financial Intelligence Unit is the new organisation entrusted with ensuring compliance with Anti Money Laundering rules. Registration and compliance with AML rules is mandatory and the following documents have to be submitted:

  • An AML&CTF Registration Form.
  • An AML&CTF Compliance Officer Appointment Form.
  • A compliance report.
  • An anti money laundering manual

A compliance officer also has to be appointed and regular submissions may be required. The registration process in simple and we can complete it on your behalf. This is the final step before you can commence your business.

Get me the license from Vanuatu Fast!

A license from Vanuatu is one of the most affordable and fastest methods to commence your Foreign Exchange Business. With an increase in the number of currencies being traded across the globe and a worldwide market, it can be the best investment for diversification of your financial services business. We at Empire are ready to customise our packages to best suit your needs because we understand that every business has a unique selling point. We are available through our website www.empireglobal.partners or by email at info@empireglobal.partners

For more information please visit:

Empire: Vanuatu Forex License Page: https://empireglobal.partners/forex-license/

Sources:

Vanuatu Financial Services Commission – https://www.vfsc.vu/

To know more about the country, please visit: https://governmentofvanuatu.gov.vu/

You can also visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDyazmUQX0E   to know more about Vanuatu.

 

Belize City, Belize: Every city and country that I visit provides me an insight to something new about the people and culture of the country, but today was much more than that. I saw the brimming potential of a country to develop as a global financial services destination. Although famous for its crystal clear beaches, jungles and scuba diving, Belize has potential to be much more. It is a country which is located so centrally located from the major economies in the Americas with such a vibrant tourism industry and stable Government can be the next major business hub on the lines of Singapore or Dubai.

The Government of Belize has tried to tap this potential and promote the services industry as a means to diversify from its traditional Petroleum and agriculture based industries. Membership of major international organisations such as CARICOM has aided this process. It has also tried to imbibe the globally successful models such as Free Trade Zones for promotion of industries.

Due to the large amount of tourist inflows into the country, promotion of the Gambling industry was an expected decision on part of the Government and it introduced the Gaming Control Act, 2000 as a primary legislation. The next major development was the introduction of the Gaming Control (Online Gambling) Regulations, 2004. Belize was one of the first destinations in the Americas to promote regulated Online Gambling and the Gaming Control Board of Belize was entrusted to regulate the functioning of the industries.

Gaming Licenses in Belize:

There are three main types of gaming licenses issues in Belize-

  • Gaming Licenses for Land Based Casinos
  • Gaming Machine License for land based gaming machines such as poker machine, slot machine or any other electromagnetic machines.
  • Online Gaming License which is also called the Belize Online Casino License.

The Online Gaming License allows the operation of all forms of games including:

  1. live dealers entertainment,
  2. sport betting,
  3. lottery,
  4. Slot machines or other gaming programs.

Details about the licenses are available at  https://empireglobal.partners/belize-online-casino-license/

Determining Eligibility for a Belize Online Casino License

Belize is a preferred destination for all investors in the Online Casino Industry and there are good reasons for it. The investor friendly legislations and business process make it an ideal licensing destination. The process of licensing however is divided into three major stages. And we will cover that later in this blog.

To start off with, the first requirement for a license is the registration as a local company in Belize and acquiring personal information of all key individuals involved in the functioning of the company.

It must be kept in mind that there are a few prescribed disqualifications for people seeking to apply for licenses and most of them relate to conviction for crimes. A detailed list of the disqualifications is available on the Empire website.

Now, let us move into the different stages of licensing.

belize-city

First Step

The applicant at the beginning has to submit an application to Empire stating that he wishes to apply for a Belize Online Gaming License. Empire would immediately get in touch with him for an appointment and provide him with a guidebook on payment of a small fee. The application guidebook contains The Belize IBC Application (Domestic Belize Corporation), Belize Gaming Trade Association & Club Dues and an online gaming license application form.

The applicant will be informed about the supporting documents for the application form. Among the important documents which are required are:

  • Complete Company Probity Form
  • Complete Personal Probity Form: about the applicant
  • Payment vouchers for prescribed fees
  • Business Plan
  • Passport or Visa copies (including current and previous passports)
  • Citizenship Certificate
  • Certificate of Non-criminal Record

Now, the filled in application form has to be submitted to Empire PLLC. On receipt of the application form, Empire will evaluate the form and ensure that all questions are answered, all supporting documents are enclosed and all requisite fee amounts have been paid.

Second Step

In this stage, the application form is first screened by the Government in a process called the “Administrative Completeness Check” and is normally completed within 8-16 weeks. Empire also provides an option for expedited check where the decision is normally taken within 4-6 weeks on payment of a small additional fee.

The second part of the Government evaluation process is the ‘Initial Evaluation Process’ by the Gaming Board and the parallel Background Check on the applicants. In case, the applicant does not fulfil certain conditions of application, it will be conveyed to the applicant. The applicant can then submit the additional documents and call for an extended evaluation.

In case, the applicant does not request for extended evaluation or fails in the extended evaluation, then the application is rejected. In case, it fulfils the initial or extended evaluation, it moves on to the final stage.

Third step

The last stage of the process is final approval of the application by the Gaming License Review Committee on the basis of the evaluations. The decision of the committee is then informed to Empire who then conveys it to the applicants.

The process of license issuance is normally completed within 4-5 months. More details about the entire process can be obtained from https://empireglobal.partners/belize-online-casino-license/

Fee for a Belize Online Casino License

The cost of Belize Online Gaming License involves a number of components and the costs can vary according to the type of license.

The first part of Fees is the “One Time Fees” which are as follows:

One Time Fees

Sl. No. Type of Fee Details about the Fee Fee amount

(in USD)

  1. 1
Guidebook Application Fee Fee for application form and Guidebook to submit the application 500
  1. 2
Offshore Company Application Fees Fee to apply for a Belize IBC 2000
  1. 3
Belize Gaming Trade Association & Organisational Dues Special Fee to be paid for operations 5000
  1. 4
Gaming License Application and Admission Fees and Legal Advisory Fees Fee for application and services On Request

The second part of the Fees is the Annual Fees and they have to be paid every year. The Annual Fees are as follows:

Annual Fee

Type of License Amount in USD Details about the Fee
Offshore Company Renewal Fee (Annual) 500 Fee for renewal of the Belize IBC initially formed
Belize Gaming Trade Association & Organisational Renewal Fee 5000 Fee for Membership of the Organisations necessary for Gaming Licensees
Online Gaming License Renew Fee (Annual) 15000 Annual Fee to be paid for the Online Gaming License charged by Govt.

The Third part of the Fee is for running the operations in the Free Trade and Free Development Zone. They are as follows:

Free Trade Zone Fee

Turnover of the Licensee (in USD) Amount of Fee (in USD)
0-15  Million 0.07% of Turnover
15-50 Million 0.06% of Turnover
Above 50 Million 0.05%
Annual Renewal Fee in Total 30,500 + Development & Construction Fees

The Fastest Way to your License

By now you should be convinced that Belize is the ideal destination for licensing your online casino. But for the cautious investor in you- Any further queries?  The Empire team has the requisite on ground experience and knowledge to cover all your doubts about the process. The team of Gaming experts at Empire will guide you through the entire process of application to ensuring that your licenses are expedited. The gaming law experts at Empire can be reached through their website www.empireglobal.partners or by email at info@empireglobal.partners

For more information please visit:

Empire: Belize Online Casino License Page: https://empireglobal.partners/belize-online-casino-license/

Sources:

Official page of Beltraide: https://www.belizeinvest.org.bz/gaming-control/

To know more about the country, please visit: www.belize.gov.bz/

You can also visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABIZKkNgVM8  to know more about Belize.

 

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK: The southernmost of the Scandinavian Countries, Denmark has emerged as one of the most prosperous countries in the world. It is best described by its National Anthem “ Der er et yndigt land”
meaning – ‘There is a lovely country’. Composed of islands and lakes and the largest island in the world- Greenland, Denmark is one of the most sought after places of residence in the world with one of the best social support systems and highest standards of living.

The Danish Government is renowned round the world as extremely business friendly and it recognises registrations from companies across the world. A member of the European Union, Denmark also provides barrier free access to one of the largest markets of the world economy.

The Danish Government on the other hand has constantly sought to keep its economy ahead of the rest of the world and has accepted new business ideas very rapidly. Among its latest ventures is in the field of Offshore Gaming where Denmark has emerged as a preferred jurisdiction for Gambling entrepreneurs from across the world.

Types of Denmark Online Casino License

Denmark issues online gaming licenses in two forms: Online Casino License and    Betting License. While the Casino License covers Combination Games, the betting license covers sports betting. Remote Gaming in Denmark is broadly covered under the Gambling Act. While Online Casino Licenses are covered by the Executive Order on Online Casinos, online betting is covered by Executive Order on Online Betting.

The entire licensing process and gambling in Denmark is controlled by the Danish Gambling Authority (‘Spillemyndigheden).

denmark
Eligibility for acquiring a Denmark Online Casino License
A Denmark Casino License can be applied by a person who fulfils the following criteria:

  • The applicant must be a minimum of 21 years of age.
  • He must not be under guardianship or requested guardianship (samværgemål).
  • He must not have filed a petition for restructuring, bankruptcy or debt relief or be subject to restructuring, bankruptcy or debt relief proceedings.
  • He must not have any debts outstanding to public authorities.

A local company is not required except if the business is sought to be opened in Greenland.
If you fulfil these requirements, you can move to the next step and apply for an online gaming license.
How to get a Gaming License in Denmark
There are five types of licenses which can be applied for online off shore gaming operations in Denmark:

  • A betting licence
  • An online casino licence.
  • A Joint License for betting and online casino.
  • A betting licence for a fixed term of one year with a gross gambling revenue limit of DKK 1 million (restricted revenue licence).
  • An online casino licence for a fixed term of one year with a gross gambling revenue limit of DKK 1 million (restricted revenue licence).

More details about the license and Fee for application are available at the Empire Website
The application is made on two main forms:

  • Appendix A which contains details on individuals applying for licenses
  • Appendix B which contains information about the games to be offered and registration of players.

The application for online gaming license has to be made with Danish Gambling Authority (‘Spillemyndigheden). After acquiring the licenses registrations also needs to be made with the Danish Business Authority and the Tax Administration.
Advantages of a Denmark Gaming License
A Denmark Casino License is preferred due to the extremely clear regulations, transparent application process and very fast application decision. The joint license allows a large number of games maximising profitability for the investors. Additionally, on successfully obtaining a license, the licensee also receives permission to use the Label of the Danish Gambling Authority through a labelling scheme “Tilladelse fra Spillemyndigheden”. This enables licensees to build trust by proving their authenticity and registration with the gambling authority. Denmark is also on the trusted list of Gaming Jurisdictions of almost all countries across the world including UK.

Choose Empire to acquire your Denmark Casino License
The team at Empire are your guide to the Danish Online Gaming Licensing Process with detailed knowledge of the documentation and the relevant license to suit your needs. Empire, a leading professional consultancy provides personalised attention to the needs of clients with discreet service. The experts at Empire can be contacted at www.empireglobal.partners
For more information, please visit: www.empireglobal.partners
Sources:
To know more about the country, please visit: https://denmark.dk/

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THE PANAMA PAPERS_What the Panama Papers Leak May Mean for the Gaming Industry

What the Largest Data Leak In History May Mean for the Gaming Industry

How Gaming’s Insiders Can Learn From Asset Protection’s “Mea Culpa” Moment.
Opinion-Editorial
By Lion Iruk,Esq. Contributing Writer
Follow Us On Twitter @RealEmpire
Managing Partner, International Asset Management &Gaming,
Empire
In this Story:
* Documents reveal the offshore holdings of hundreds of politicians and public officials worldwide
*The data includes prime ministers of Iceland and Pakistan, with more to be disclosed.
* Additionally more than 200,000 offshore entities appear in the leak, connected to people in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
* It is expected that major figures across a wide variety of industries are going to be greatly affected by this leak, including the gaming industry.
* How diversification, data encryption, stronger compliance, and specialized attorney management (SAM) Services  could have been employed as an insurance against the mistakes of mega-firms or service providers.

Background
Over a year ago, in the dark recesses of the internet an undisclosed source contacted the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted over 11 million encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca.  Being one of the largest Panamanian Professional Services & Advisory Firm that sells and establishes offshore companies and wealth management structures, Mossack Fonsecagenerally operates in tax friendly regions such as Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, and Gaming industry hubs  such as Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man.

What are the Panama Papers?
The files also known as the‘Panama Papers’stem from a security breach,which has provided journalist sensitive data on some 214,000 companies, covering a period spanning from the 1970s to the spring of 2016. In the wake of the data breach,  investigators have searched the homes and offices of about 100 people and commercial enterprises related to the leak. This includes Germany’s Commerzbank, HSH Nordbank, and Hypovereinsbank who have all agreed to pay fines of around 20 million euros, respectively. Since then the United States, UK, and Iceland amongst others have also acquired this leaked data.

The documents show a dozen or more former heads of state, and several people linked to world leaders have utilized the Panamanian Professional Services & Advisory Firm for offshore services. They included the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur Gunnlaugson, who had an undeclared financial interest tied to his wife’s wealthy estate. Minister Gunnlaugson, is now fighting off calls for his resignation. Moreover, Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, has been alleged to have used companies and funds inPanama to hold onto gold mine stocks and real estate.In total, the probe identified relationships with 58 relatives and friends of prime ministers, presidents or kings.

The Problem with Mossack Fonseca & The Irony of Over Reliance
Notwithstanding the larger issues associated with the privacy breach; the data leak provides rare insight behind the french manicured paywall that is Global Asset Management & Legal Services. Similar to the banking industry where centralization and over-reliance on “no-holds” barred rule making allowed a few companies to so dominate the market, the Offshore Services industry has over relied on the same few firms, same few banks, and same few “experts” time and time again, creating the perfect storm in Panama.

The story not being told is that the vast majority of Professional Services & Advisory Firm in this space are extraordinarily compliance driven.  Moreover, the vast majority of the offshore structures and transactions within the Panama papers leak, while politically “improper”  are legally compliant in most cases.  However, as can be expected the media is in a full-on rabies induced frenzy, proclaiming with its usual verve that high powered Professional Services & Advisory Firm, have conspired toprotect the estates of the world’s rich and famous, and are the sole cause forbillion dollar money laundering schemes, the 2008 Financial crisis, ISIS, and everything in between.  That may be a stretch, but..

We get the message:
“Professional Services & Advisory Firm are evil and are bent onwrecking society down to its core.
Kill Them With Fire.”
– Sincerely Yours,
cThe Media.
Yet, the media fails to mention, that these same firms only use the same set of laws and rules made available to every man, woman and child in their jurisdiction.  This does not excuse or condone criminal behavior, in any way, shape or form, but it does bring some varied context to the larger story.

The offshore services legal industry, just like another has its growing pains, based on a tradition of over reliance on larger providers like Mossack Fonseca to do the “heavy lifting” , without putting the proper protocols in place to protect their clients’ interests.

A blatant example of this, is that in most cases Mossack Fonsecadid not know its clients, basically forgoing the most basic Due Diligence and KYC standards required in representation.  An internal examination conducted in 2015 indicated the firm was privy to the owner identities (UBO Information – “Ultimate Beneficial Owner”) of 204 out of 14,086 companies it has registered in the Seychelles.

This is particularly troubling, since failure to disclose UBO information, is the primary way to have a client’s assets seized, and potentially blacklisted from that institution. Especially if the bank or trust institution becomes aware of such a revelation in an extremely damaging way, (say via the Guardian,  CalvinAyre.com, or the IRS).  It has been alleged that Mossack Fonseca provided sham directors and, if desired, concealed the company’s true shareholders. The result was an offshore company whose true ownership structure was indecipherable from the outside, in some cases even to Mossack Fonseca itself. When asked about this,

 Mossack Fonseca candidly replied that: 
 “An internal examination carried out by a legal company concluded that our formula for risk assessment is significantly defective.” 

Too Big For Common Sense?
Ironically, major asset offshore protection firms like Mossack Fonseca are not alone, they have relied on being well-connected and very well paid to do the tasks they were retained. That primary task was to preserve and secure their client’s assets, which they did successfully. However, the unwritten purpose of asset protection is to preserve your client’s structural privacy and keep their principal’s assets from becoming a public spectacle. They failed at this.

Mossack Fonseca should have applied common sense data protections to keep their client’s information safe, not only from nefarious actors on the outside, but safeguards should have been placed on the insides of Mossack Fonseca’s data integrity department to minimize the chances of things like this taking place in such spectacular fashion.

When your representing the “Who’s Who” of global leadership, one would assume that affords you military grade decentralization, encryption, and data management services. Their is no Panama Papers leak, with proper data management controls in place.  Additionally, the firm should have placed a greater emphasis on risk management, and compliance. It should have employed the most basic internal and external KYC policies, in order to preserve its standing and keep its clients out of prison.

As lawyers, we all understand riding the edges of the law – that is why we are hired. We also understand, riding your client’s over that edge, will get you fired and possibly disbarred.  Mossack Fonseca’s willingness throw caution to wind and “hope for the best” seems to have caught every reasonable minded asset protection strategist off guard.

How it May Affect The Gaming Industry’s Insiders: Looking for aBogeyman.

Its no secret that the gambling industry strongly relies on a diverse array of  asset protection solutions to make sure operations run smoothly. Weplace assets in a wide variety of legalonshore and offshore solutions to defend them from a wide range of actors, whether state sponsored, criminal, or otherwise.

We tend to have risk averse policies when it comes to ensuring that we keep our doors open for the long run. Most importantly, using offshore structures areentirely legal in every context; and essential to protecting client’s funds from being caught up in the excessively ambiguous relationship forged betweenCasinos, payment processors, and banking institutions.

With that said, the strategies employed by various Professional Services & Advisory Firm and accountants throughout the Asset Protection industry may be called into question as a result of the Panama Papers leak, especially as more names closely related to the Gaming industry begin to pop up in every 10 cent tabloid on the internet. Undoubtedly, if and when this happens the Media may unsurprisingly shift its focus from the untouchable politicians to the very touchable members of the Gaming industry, who may have been unwittingly ensnared in this data breach, no matter their innocence or guilt, or knowledge of the structures used for their benefit.

 What We Can Learn from the Panama Papers Debacle?

 1. Diversify Your Legal Representation

 “Bigger isn’t Always Better.” Similar to your stock portfolio, Professional Services & Advisory Firm diversification can help manage risk and reduce the volatility of an unscrupulous or mismanaged firm. While Big Firms, almost always get a pass that they are doing everything correct, you should always hedge your bet in case they are not.We advise clients to not solely rely on the biggest or most well known firm in a particular jurisdiction, but instead choose the best fit, which may be a small or mid-size operation which you can have more intimate access. Remember, that no matter how diversified your asset or legal portfolio is, risk can never be eliminated completely. However, you can reduce risk associated with individual offshore structural setups, by diversifying the strategists in your legal portfolio.  The key is to find a medium between reliability, security, competence and price. This ensures that you achieve your goals while still maintaining piece of mind.

 2. Optimize your Risk Management Strategies-

Sounds obvious. Want to stay out of the news, due the insanity of a rouge actor? Do more legal work in-house; and free up your legal spend for highly specialized legal matters. Routine structures and non-complex setups may not require an outsourced firm, no matter how convenient it may be to get on the phone with an offshore structural operation. However, if you must outsource the work, you would be best served by employing a Specialized Attorney Manager (SAM) to manage your legal process outsourcing duties to firms like Mossack Fonseca.

3. HireSpecialized Attorney Management Services- (SAMs):

Specialized Attorney Management (SAM) Services, are a unique niche within legal process outsourcing, in which in-house legal departments, individual clients, or organizations outsource legal work from areas in a cost effective manner to firms which can perform tasks at significantly decreased cost. There are several Professional Services & Advisory Firm, including our own who offer SAM Services, by which an outside firm, or a particular lawyer acts as your intermediary in a particular speciality (offshore banking, licensing, etc). A legal sherpa of sorts.

Their function is to hire other attorneys, translate “legal lingo” into your preferred method of communication and comprehension, and protect your interest above all else. SAMs are more than just introductory firms, they usually have input or develop your asset strategy, find and secure the best attorneys for that particular job, negotiate price points and positions, and keep things within a proposed budget.

Additionally, they Provide compliance, data security, encryption guidelines, and risk management services, and continuous assess legal operations and propose and implement solutions in a wide variety of disciplines.

 4. Understand the Law

Many countries require specific security measures for personal information, and attorneys are not exempt from securing your data. Make sure that your firm has implemented basic level requirement such as: Encryption of all transmitted records and files containing personal information that will travel across public networks, and encryption of all data containing personal information to be transmitted wirelessly and encryption of all personal information stored on laptops or other portable electronic devices.

Additionally, most firms must retain client records for a period of 2 to 5 years, however after this period has expired,  you (or your SAM) should send a written request for return of document and/or a destruction of all electronic records. If possible request an itemized printout of all documents returned and destroyed.

Additionally, request your firm encrypt all conversations and chat logs, since clients are fully in control on how they exercise their portion of “attorney client- privileged information”. We have had many clients request to speak on private services logs such as Telegram, Silent Circle, Signal, or request PGP encrypted emails in lieu of a standard Yahoo, Gmail, or Non-encrypted method of communication.

Mossack Fonseca’s ‘Panama Papers’Are A Call To Action

As a matter of best practice there is little reason for a ‘Mossack Fonseca’ to exist into today’s highly advanced technological environment. With the vast amount of available options on the internet, service providers, small/midsize Professional Services & Advisory Firm willing to employ amazing structural strategies,  clients should refrain from over reliance on major firms who are may be riding on the coats of their reputations, but have not shown a willingness to evolve beyond their comfort zone (such as implementing effective encryption, following KYC guidelines, informing clients of political and legal risk if their strategies fail).

The Panama Papers reads like a novel written in the 1970s, where salacious details about the intricate works of the elite are being called into question. Howeverin 2016, given the relatively low cost of solutions, and the sheer quality of service professionals in the offshore asset management field, there are no longer any acceptable excuses for not deploying such solutions. We should heed this as a call to action….well unless you want to make the news.

Lionel Iruk, Esq.- is currently a Managing Partner at Empire, PLLC whose practice focuses on Gaming, Citizenship by Investment & Residency Planning and Asset Protection Services for Empire.   He also counsels founders and key managers inside and outside of the Gaming Industry , and implement tactical strategies related to forming their companies, risk and data management, acquiring licensing, setting up equity and banking structures, negotiating with investors, and dealing with a wide variety of complex and simple asset and cash management solutions, for high net worth individuals and their families. Lionel is the host of the 1000 Ways to Do Business Offshore Podcast, Conference Speaker,  and contributing writer on CalvinAyre.com. He can be reached at lion@empireglobal.partners, or Via the web at www.empireglobal.partners

Montenegro-empire legal

By Lionel Iruke, Esq. Managing Attorney EmpireFollow on Twitter @RealEmpireLegal

Date: March 29, 2016

Podgorica, MontenegroE-GAMBLING MONTENEGRO two words when fused together, brings up visions of James Bond, fast cars, beautiful women, and amazing gadgets. In 2016, obtaining an online gaming license in Montenegro has made that Bond-esque vision not too far off from reality.  The rapidly growing Balkan nation of Montenegro has carved a niche for itself as one of the most stable economies of the region which has made it a preferred investment destination for investors from across the globe.

A central European Nation on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, Montenegro is a must visit destination for anyone looking for a slice of medieval charm and history. Few authors have called it a slice of Adriatic heaven and as I look through the new skyline of Podgorica, I see the desire of a country to create a balance between modern infrastructure and preserving its rich heritage.

Precisely, keeping this target in mind, this delightful country has looked for ways to modernise their economy and Montenegro has encouraged reforms at a rate much faster than the other Balkan countries. From a low income tax rate of 9% to accepting the Euro as the currency, the country has tried to make it as smooth as possible for businesses to flourish in the country.

No surprises then that Montenegro also saw an opportunity in developing it as an Online gaming hub.  It brought about the Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Games of Chance, 2007, one of the first legislations recognising online gaming in the world. The industry in Montenegro on the other hand is regulated by the Games of Chance Administration (Gambling Authority). The Montenegrin License is highly prized as it allows conducting multiple games on a single license providing flexibility and value to its holder.

In 2011, online gambling was given full licencing power in order to operate, meaning financial hosting and services are all independently run by the companies running online casinos in Montenegro; ushering in one of the most progressive mindsets towards online gambling. Registration is a usually a fast process, with licences given out under 2-3 weeks time, at most. Moreover, taxes are low in order to driverevenue.

In 2015, Bitcasino.io, the became the world’s first legally licensed and regulated online Bitcoin-only casino gaming and sportsbook operator, and integrated the first-ever video themed slot designed for Bitcoin players and expanded its portfolio with the addition of a further 20 games for mobile and desktop. With the help of Empire, several other Bitcasino projects are in the works, utilizing Montenegro as a primary place to launch.

As an overview the main steps before applying for a license are:

  • Forming a Company in Montenegro
  • Registering with the Tax Authorities
  • Preparing books of accounts and opening bank accounts.
  • Designing a website and arrangement for payment processing.

Details about the license procedures are available at https://empireglobal.partners/montenegro-license/

How do I get a Montenegro Gaming License

At first glance, most of the steps for application look intimidating. But fear not! Empire has started a special medium called the “The Integrated Package” which is now the preferred option for almost all license seekers as it makes the entire process hassle free and simple by completing all necessary formalities from forming a company to payment processing. It also enables you to start your business within 4 months under most situations.

Keeping in mind the needs of the applicants, the integrated package starts with registering a company and tax registration. This is followed by introduction with a book keeping firm in Montenegro which will assist you with your yearly account preparation. The package also takes care of banking and payment processing needs which are also essential to start with your business.

The package is designed to ensure that your business is ready to start and it is no surprise that it also includes an assistance option for the applicant enabling him to receive assistance as per requirement.

Trust Empire for your Montenegro Gaming License

Your business plans should not be delayed any more. Empire ensures that you have a ready to operate business and all ends of your licensing needs are covered. You are free to focus on your business and even in any remote circumstances that you have a hurdle; personal guidance is available for every question. The experts at Empire can be reached through their website www.empireglobal.partners or by email at info@empireglobal.partners

For more information please visit:

Empire: Montenegro Gaming License Page: https://empireglobal.partners/montenegro-license/

Sources:

Gaming Authority Montenegro (https://www.upravazaigrenasrecu.me/1/index.php/en/homepage/item/55-games-of-chance-administration)

To know more about the country, please visit: https://www.gov.me/en/homepage/

For more information on the legislation behind the program, please visit:

Decree on Promulgation of the Law on Games of Chance:  https://www.upravazaigrenasrecu.me/1/images/EN/Law on Games of Chance.pdf