Where is Mauritius?

Mauritius is located in the Indian Ocean, approximately 2400 kms. off the east African coast and covers an area of 1820 sq. km. The capital is Port Louis. Local time is 4 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and consequently 3 hours ahead of Switzerland, 9 hours ahead of New York and 4 hours behind Hong Kong.

Is Mauritius an independent country?

Yes, Mauritius became an independent nation in 1968 following 150 years of British colonisation and a century of French occupation. In 1992 Mauritius became a Republic and the President is the Head of State. Mauritius has a Westminster model parliamentary democracy with general elections every 5 years. Government is headed by the Prime Minister and his cabinet of Ministers. The population of 1.1 million is multi-racial and multi-lingual, comprising Hindus, Chinese, Europeans, Creoles and Muslims. Whilst English is the official language most Mauritians are fluent in both French and English.

What legal system applies in Mauritius?

The legal system is based upon both English and French law with substantive law based primarily upon the French Napoleonic civil code. Company and trust law is principally based on English common law and equity. The highest court of appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England.

How do I communicate with Mauritius?

Communications are excellent with continuous international telephone, telex and facsimile services available via satellite. Internet access is available. There are over 30 international flights each week including direct flights to major European cities, South Africa, India, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

What is the financial system of Mauritius?

The local currency is the Mauritian rupee although all offshore trust and company business must be conducted in foreign currencies. Such entities are not subject to exchange controls. Banking services are provided by ten banks including Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp., Barclays Bank, Banque Nationale de Paris, Bank of Baroda and Habib Bank. These banks are licensed to provide a wide range of commercial banking services for both domestic and international financial transactions.

What offshore trust services does Mauritius offer?

Mauritius has a comprehensive offshore legislation that includes the Mauritius Offshore Business Activities Act 1992, the International Companies Act 1994, and the Offshore Trusts Act 1992 (as amended). The Offshore Trusts Act is designed to cater for a wide range of offshore needs including private clients, institutional investors, unit trusts, and pension funds. Offshore trusts may in appropriate circumstances be entitled to benefits under double tax treaties. The Act includes provisions that facilitate asset protection and onshore management of assets held under offshore trusts. (see following article for further information).

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances from a local lawyer or accountant.