Swedish firm finds novel way for Iran business

March 25, 2017 2:28 pm

Stock market employees work at the Tehran Stock Exchange in this file photo.

A company in Sweden has come
up with an innovative solution which both bypasses US sanctions and does
away with the need for banks to process transactions with

Brave
New World Investments AB is reportedly accepting deposits in bitcoin
which it converts to Iranian rial and invests in equities on the Tehran
Stock Exchange (TSE).
With some US sanctions against Iran still in
place in spite of a nuclear agreement, major banks have been refusing
to finance deals with Tehran out of fear of running afoul of opaque
American laws.
Brave New World has become the first known company
in Europe to incorporate without a bank account and handled all the
initial funding in bitcoin.
The team behind the venture is
experienced in finance and technology in Europe and the ,
according to Finance Magnates, a global information portal offering
online financial trading and research.
The new firm’s Mikael
Johansson said they operate completely with cryptocurrency on behalf of
their European shareholders while also searching for angel investors
among the Iranian and bitcoin communities in Europe.
“Now we
simply do not have a Swedish bank account. However, we do have an
Iranian bank account for the equity investments. We pay our bills,
shareholder dividends, Iran deposits – everything – in
cryptocurrencies,” he said.

Bitcoin is
a peer-to-peer payment system in which transactions take place between
users directly, without an intermediary. The activity is referred to
as mining, where successful miners are rewarded with transaction fees
and newly created bitcoins.TSE is among the
five biggest markets in the Middle East, where more than 300 companies
are listed with a market capitalization of around $100 billion.
The
lifting of sanctions generated a tide of euphoric mood in anticipation
of money from outside the country flowing into Iranian stocks. Investors
were encouraged by prospects of economic growth and the Iranian
market’s low valuations.
However, Iranian officials have said the
US was “terrorizing” the Europeans into shunning with Iran
despite the lifting of the sanctions.
Some European banks have reportedly discussed resumption of trade financing in Iran but they have yet to move in.
According
to Johansson, Brave New World got to think of the venture as the
sanctions against Iran started to get dismantled in early 2016 but none
of the Swedish banks wanted to help the firm.
“There are no
sanctions in Sweden or in the European Union obstructing Swedish-Iranian
investments, so we are not breaking any laws in our jurisdiction,” he
said.
“We religiously follow anti money laundry directives set by
the relevant institutions of Sweden and the European Union,” he added.
Johansson’s
company will not have US operations nor US investors for an indefinite
future due to the current American sanctions against Iran.

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