MUHAMMAD REZA CASSAM UTEEM

Head of Chambers

MUHAMMAD REZA CASSAM UTEEM, MP

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Nov 95: Called to the Mauritius Bar
  • Nov 93: Called to the English Bar (Middle Temple)

EDUCATION:

  • Nov 95-Sep 96: University of London (King’s College), England
  • LLM in International Business Law
  • International Tax Law; Law of International Finance; Company Law
  • International and Comparative Law of Trusts

Jan 91-Dec 92 : University of Buckingham, England

LLB in Politics and Law

PRIZES AND SCHOLARSHIPS

  • 1993 : 1st Prize for best overall performance at the Bar Exams of England
  • 1995 : Chevening Scholarship (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK)
  • 1991 & 1992 : Overseas Development Administration Scholarship
  • 1989 : Winner of the Prime Minister’s Award

WORK EXPERIENCE

February 2000- present:

Barrister. International commercial law, corporate finance, public law, trusts and tax consultancy and litigation

Advised a variety of funds investing in India, China and Africa. Services include advising on the structure, most appropriate vehicle for the collective investment scheme, tax implications, the negotiation and drafting of Private Placement Memorandum and other offering documents, subscription agreements, management agreement, custodian agreement and other transaction documents. Recent assignments include setting up several multi million private equity funds for investment in Africa mainly in the infrastructure and telecoms sectors, setting up a fund for reconstruction of Afghanistan, setting up real estate funds with capital commitments of over US$3 billion and setting up retail funds for investment in emerging markets. Clients include government linked agencies such as Norfund, Commonwealth Development Corporation, Temasek and Aureos as well as banks such Union Banque Suisse, ING Baring, JP Morgan and Kotak Mahindra.

Advised the Secretariat of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa in connection with the setting up of a regional payment and settlement system.

Advised the governmental authorities in Senegal (West Africa) on investment and labour laws. Advised the governmental authorities in Ghana (West Africa) in connection with the setting up of a regional financial centre.

Advised IFC on the privatization of the Cargo handling in Mauritius

Regularly advises multinationals and banks in connection with various types of structured financing, securitization, asset backed finance, project finance, debt restructuring and tax planning using Mauritius vehicles. Recent assignment include US$3.8 billion financing to an Indian Telecommunication Group and € 1.5 billion financing for an engineering multinational and financing two power projects in Bangladesh. Clients include Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered Bank, BNP Paribas, Morgan Stanley, ICICI Bank and ANZ Bank.

Regularly represents lenders, owners and lessee in aircraft financing transactions. Recent assignment include representing the owner in the acquisition of two Airbus aircraft, representing banks in a US$65,000,000 aircraft refinancing and representing consortium of banks in several aircraft leasing transactions with Emirates Airline and Air India.

Participated in a number of mergers and acquisitions involving both domestic and foreign companies including the petrol refineries and distributors in Madagascar, a coal mining group in Indonesia, telecom companies in India, a call centre, cleaning company and real estate company in Mauritius.

Advised a number of foreign companies investing into Mauritius including hotels, integrated resort schemes and call centres. Clients include Accor group and Middle East real estate companies.

Regularly advises trustees and settlors on trusts and related matters including migration of trusts. Prepared standard trusts documents for trustee corporations including Standard Bank Trust Company (Mauritius) Ltd, BNP Paribas and ING Trust (Mauritius) Limited.

Regularly advises Mauritius consultants in connection with various projects in Africa financed by the World Bank and International Development Association. Recent assignments include negotiating the contract for consultant’s services with respect to projects in Tanzania, Botswana and Madagascar.

Regularly represents clients in various civil and commercial matters as well as tax payers in the Tax Appeal Tribunal and judicial review. Recent assignments include representing Barclays Bank in a major receivership involving several jurisdictions, acting for a multinational in an attachment proceedings and mareva injunction. Regularly represents banks and international clients in anti money laundering cases and fraud cases. Recent assignment including successfully lifting freezing order on the bank account of an international client and discharging a disclosure order and representing a shareholder before the Privy Council in a multi-million dollar shareholder dispute.

March 1997-January 2000

Associate of Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, an American and International Law Firm: Singapore office; Hong Kong office and Tokyo office. Area of practice: Securities Law, International Finance, Cross Border Transactions, Corporate Law and Trusts. Participated in the negotiations and drafting of various documentation for the listing and underwriting of securities on the New York Stock Exchange as well as private placements for several Asian issuers including Asia Pulp & Paper Company Ltd and the Korean Development Bank.

Participated in the negotiations, structuring and drafting of various types of financings including, syndicated loans, securitisation of receivables programme, use of swaps and derivatives. Participated in the negotiations and drafting of documents for a number of power projects including the sale of cogeneration plants in Indonesia and China for an aggregate amount of US$1 billion and the construction of a hydro power station in the Philippines financed by a consortium of Japanese banks. Also worked on aircraft leasing transactions and cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

January 1997-March 1997 :

Barrister in Mauritius. Civil Litigation and Taxation.

September 1996-December 1996:

Lenz & Staehelin, law firm in Geneva, Switzerland. Private client business, trusts and tax planning.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Member of the National Assembly since 2010
  • Member of the Pan African Parliament since 2015
  • Member of the Legal and Regulatory Committee of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
  • Alternate member of the Steering Committee set up by the Government for the establishment of a Financial Services Commission;
  • Participated in the drafting of the Financial Services Development Act, the Trusts Act 2001 and the Limited Partnership Bill.
  • Regularly contribute articles in international journals and speak at international conferences.
  • Former Chairman of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioner Mauritius Branch.
  • Former Executive Committee Member of International Fiscal Association, Mauritius branch

LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Fluent: English, French, Urdu and Creole.