Zug, 15.04.2019

Iranian crypto-currency entrepreneur looks to operating through Zug

It is widely known that Zug is a magnet when it comes to companies setting-up businesses relating to crypto-currencies. What is less well known is that Iranian companies are also looking to the canton as a location from where they can operate. With Iran, and companies trading with it, facing tough US sanctions, it is not easy for Iranian companies to set up firms here, the banks having their hands tied. However, an alternative option to pay for the setting up of a company in Zug is possible in the canton by paying through assets in kind, i.e. through crypto-currencies.

One Iranian player in this field is Ali Mizani Oskui. He is reportedly highly intelligent and even foresaw the fall in price of Bitcoin last year. In fact he uses his expertise in this business in his job, offering asset management with crypto- currencies based on his algorithms. On his homepage, the Iranian financial expert says he believes neither in racial barriers nor in political boundaries and has no time for religious intolerance and prejudice.

Apparently, the 44-year old is already successful in offering his services in his homeland, but wants to expand abroad, though with sanctions in place, this is not easy.

Helping Mizani Oskui in his venture is Cédric Schmid (photograph), the new leader of the FDP party of the city of Zug, himself a fiduciary agent currently advising a number of companies involved in crypto-currencies.

In looking for somewhere beyond Iranian borders to set up a company, Mizani Oskui turned to Switzerland, though with a minimum CHF 100,000 needed to set up an AG company, this was not easy for him. He sought assistance from ten Swiss banks without success, no doubt as a result of US sanctions, Schmid feels. Switzerland also imposes certain sanctions on Iran, but there is no law which states that Iranian companies cannot open accounts here. While this may be the case on paper, in reality, US sanctions are taken into consideration in this area, and implemented worldwide, as one representative of a large Swiss bank said. Schmid feels this is wrong. “Surely it is not right for so many obstacles to be placed in front of an Iranian to invest here when it has been proved he has earned his money, clean money, too, himself,” adding that Switzerland should stand up to the USA in such matters, “after all, we are one the biggest investors in the States,” he insisted.

Hence Mizani Oskui sought assistance from Schmid, who felt that the Iranian’s business was so exciting it belonged to Crypto Valley. And as Schmidt further explained, since September of 2017 it has been possible for companies dealing in crypto-currencies to set them up through payment in kind, something the FDP party leader pushed for. Statistics provided by the Cantonal Registry of Companies show this has been the case in as many as 100 companies.

Schmid is also being supported in this role by the Decom Switzerland GmbH company, which operates from Ballwill and Sursee, both in the canton of Lucerne, and which is active in the same sector as Mizani Oskui, offering advice on investing in crypto-currencies and managing assets held in them. Marcel Niederberger, a partner there, said the company had extended its services to opening an escrow account in the crypto-currency Etherium as payment for necessary deposit required, enabling the subsequent issuance of the necessary capital payment certificate required to ensure public registration.

With the value of crypto-currencies fluctuating strongly as they do, Mizani Oskui actually paid ETH 1234.8, or CHF 130,000, as the deposit for the registration of his Ficas AG company, this amount being the value of Etherium in Swiss franc terms at the time of registration.

Another advantage Niederberger pointed out was that Decom Switzerland was subject to a self-regulating organisation only. “Of course, we have to check exactly what sort of money we are getting,” he said, “which indicates how serious our partners take all this.”

As Schmid further pointed out, it was not just businessmen from countries subject to sanctions who encountered problems setting up accounts, banks made it difficult for any start-up companies dealing in crypto-currencies and blockchain, or financed through foreign money, to do the same. The reason, he felt, was that banks lack the specialist knowledge needed in this sector and were unwilling, too, to get involved in something they did not understand. Now the FDP politician is looking to increased demand from companies dealing in crypto-currencies for the services he can offer.


This article is based on one written by Christopher Gilb.