Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Ras al-Khaimah, one of the Persian Gulf arab emirates, a relatively obscure part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is growing in size as an offshore financial center, and not for the right reasons. With foreign nationals attracted by literally zero taxation, and absolute anonymity of corporate ownership, RAK, as it is commonly known, now reportedly has more than 14,500 corporations.

Formerly the area of operations, for several years, of Viktor Bout, and other arms traffickers, RAK is seeking to become the Cayman Islands of the Gulf, offering turn-key financial services, a free trade zone, investor-friendly business environment, and a sanctions-evasion history, RAK is a short 45 minute drive from Dubai Airport; its deepwater port facilities round out its potential threat as a center of illicit trade.

Given that beneficial ownership, and even the identities of officers & directors, cannot be verified through any trustworthy official source, you would advised not to accept any Ras Al-Khaimah corporation as an account holder, and I personally would not approve any financial transfers, either to, or from, this jurisdiction, at this time. This may sound blunt, but for risk management purposes, you do not want to be on the wrong side of an OFAC, or a sanctions, violation.

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