Kenneth Rijock

Kenneth Rijock

Friday, September 30, 2016

NEW INCORPORATIONS DECLINE 20% IN PANAMA, SINCE PANAMA PAPERS SCANDAL BROKE



Panama's Minister of Finance, at a recent conference in Panama City, stated that total new incorporations in Panama in 2016, by the end of year will show a twenty per cent decline from 2015. Most observers attribute this to the reluctance of foreign clients to form new corporations and foundations, in the light of the negative press generated as the result of the publication of the Panama Papers, the records of the law firm of Mossack & Fonseca.

The minister stated that she believed the reason for the diminution in new corporations to be Panama's new "transparency," though she made that claim at an offshore financial services conference, in Panama City, where the countries, and vendors of tax haven services, were advertising just the opposite.

AMERICAN ECONOMIST ON PANAMANIAN REFORM COMMITTEE THREATENED BY GOVERNMENT


Joseph Stiglitz, the American economist & Nobel Prize winner, who was appointed to the special international commission of experts that Panama set up, in the aftermath of the Panama Papers scandal, to recommend reforms in the country's financial services industry, resigned, after he learned that his report would not timely be made public, and that the Government of Panama would see it prior to its eventual release, has commented extensively, to the press, about the matter.

However, what has not been disclosed (and which the Panamanian press, which operates under an unofficial censorship policy that discourages negative stories, will not report) is the fact that Stiglitz was expressly warned, by representatives of the Government of Panama, that the report would have to contain positive information, or his personal reputation would be attacked in the global media. This threat was said to have come directly from the President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, according to reliable Panamanian sources. Mr. Stiglitz is obviously too much of a gentlemen to repeat this classless remark, but the public, especially Panamanian voters, have a right to know.

This bit of nasty business comes on top of the fact that the Panamanian nationals, named to the commission by Varela, all claim that the claimed indefinite delay in the release of any commission report was in the original plans, with the Government receiving a copy in advance of publication, and having the opportunity to respond, and that the report release date was never specified. As one can clearly see, the commission was never really independent.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

RAISE COUNTRY RISK FOR THE BAHAMAS



If you have been reading the so-called Bahamas Leaks a/k/a the Bahama Papers, you know that the ICIJ has released 1.3m documents, taken from Bahamian public records, involving 175,000 corporations formed there. While we knew, from the Panama Papers, that the Bahamas were one of Mossack Fonseca's preferred offshore jurisdictions, the Bahamas Leaks have now confirmed that the longtime promises, made by the Government of the Bahama Islands, that it had cleaned up its offshore act, had no basis in fact, and that the Bahamas were just as bad as the British Virgin Islands, and the Republic of Panama, in the tax haven "ask me no questions, I will tell you no lies," category of willful blindness jurisdictions, engaged in major money laundering, tax evasion facilitation, and concealment of beneficial ownership.

The Bahamas Leaks demonstrated that corrupt government officials, convicted career criminals, money launderers, and narcotics traffickers, still move their criminal proceeds into, and through the Bahamas. All the AML/CFT material, posted online by the Compliance Commission of the Bahamas, the Ministry of Financial Services, and the Central Bank of the Bahamas, and designed to assure compliance officers that the country is serious about anti-money laundering, are not being followed by the country's financial institutions, non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs), corporate service firms, and attorneys.

Raise Country Risk on the commonwealth of the Bahamas. Kindly disregard the motto; unfortunately, the pirates have not yet been expelled; they are the damn commerce.



CIMA RELEASES CLASSIFIED VICTIM INFORMATION TO FRAUDSTER WHO COMMITTED THE CRIME

Sources inside the Cayman Islands report that an officer in the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) delivered classified information to Cayman Gang of Four fraudster Sharon Lexa Lamb, who then turned it over to her attorneys. The information included a written statement of facts, submitted by Lawrence Heath, a victim of Lamb's massive multi-million dollar theft of client money, from Dundee Merchant Bank's accounts within the Bank of Butterfield, in Grand Cayman.

Apparently the fact that Lamb, who is being sued by Heath in Grand Court, received the classified documents, is now common knowledge in the Cayman Islands. CIMA recently claimed that it has increased its internal security, but that announcement appear to be solely for public consumption, and without any basis in fact.

Many outside observers have stated that CIMA has failed to fulfill its responsibilities, as the regulator of financial institutions, and corporations engaged in wealth management and securities matters, and that it should be directly administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom. It is breaches of trust, like the illegal disclosure of classified information, to a Cayman resident known to be accused of fraud and grand theft, that strengthens the argument for direct control by the UK.     

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

BNP PARIBAS IS CLOSING UP, AND LEAVING THE CAYMAN ISLANDS



Reliable sources in the financial services community have revealed that the surviving Cayman Islands facilities of BNP Paribas* will shortly be permanently closing, as BNP has decided to leave Cayman. In recent years, we have seen BNP reduce its scope in Grand Cayman, by quietly closing up all its other local banking facilities. The last one in operation is slated to be shuttered shortly, though no specific date has been released.

After the Panama Papers disclosures broke in Paris, the French financial industry has come under close scrutiny, regarding offshore operations and the fact that there have been a number of financial scandals in Grand Cayman in recent years, most likely contributed to a final decision to leave Cayman completely. Another factor believed to have been considered is the decision, by many major US banks, to implement de-risking policies, which for the Caribbean means to greatly reduce correspondent relationships with local banks deemed to be high risk, due to money laundering and terrorist financing concerns.

Whatever the principal reason for the BNP departure from Cayman, it may result in a reevaluation of risk, on the part of other foreign banks, with subsidiaries or branches there, especially as the negative global attitude, towards tax haven jurisdictions, hardens, and offshore financial centers find that their client base is diminishing, due to increasing enforcement of tax evasion in the home countries of clients.
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* BNP Paribas Bank and Trust, Cayman Limited, BNP Paribas Fund Administration Services (Cayman).

THE CAYMAN GANG OF FOUR COMMIT A BOLD FRAUD UPON THE GRAND COURT, AND NOBODY NOTICES


When a liquidation proceeding was initiated against the B & C Capital, Ltd., and Bateman & Company, defunct shell corporations that fugitive stock trader, Ryan Bateman had used to move millions of dollars of investor assets, stolen by Sharon Lexa Lamb and Derek Buntain, while they were senior officers of Dundee Merchant Bank, we attempted to obtain information about one of the claimants, which is a BVI corporation, with bearer shares. Imagine our surprise when we learned that the creditor's affidavit was signed by Mr. Buntain, indicating that he and the other Gang members were busy trying to get their hands on whatever assets the liquidators locate.

It appears that Buntain wasn't satisfied stealing million from his victims, he also wants to dash any chances that the victims could recover any of their money through the liquidation. His claim, made through one of the anonymous shell companies (with bearer shares) he controls, has absolutely no basis in fact, and is clearly an arrogant, and illegal, attempt to perpetrate a fraud upon the court. We hope that the judge in the Grand Court demands that Buntain's attorneys produce evidence to prove up their bogus claim, and strike it, when no evidence is submitted.



Buntain & Lamb, who were the directors of companies owned by the victims of the Gang of Four fraud, had a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets of their beneficial owners, those same assets that they stole. How can they now claim assets that their former clients clearly have a priority position upon ?

And while we are on the subject, Derek Buntain's attorneys, curiously, who are also the lawyers for Sharon Lexa Lamb, currently being sued in Grand Court, by one of the many Canadian victims, AND also are reported to be the attorneys for the liquidators of the Bateman companies. Is that not a conflict of interest, verging upon the facilitation of a fraud upon the court ? I will let the attorneys presently admitted to practice in the Cayman Islands render a qualified opinion on the law, but from where we sit, one cannot represent individuals, who have opposing and obligatory, duties and responsibilities, in matters which misrepresentations of material facts are being made to the court, amounting to fraud. Attorneys in the Cayman Islands are bound by rules of ethics, but they do not appear to have been followed in this case.




Tuesday, September 27, 2016

MASTER PONZI SCHEMER/MONEY LAUNDERER MARC HARRIS RELEASED FROM US PRISON



Marc Matthew Harris, the prodigy who earned an MBA and CPA at the age of 20, and became an offshore financial specialist in the Republic of Panama, and later Nicaragua, as the Harris Organization, has been released from Federal Prison, after serving a long sentence, for money laundering and tax evasion. He allegedly laundered the proceeds of three drug traffickers, and defrauded dodgy clients who were seeking to hide money offshore, as well as legitimate investors.

 His offshore operations were long considered a Ponzi scheme by investigators who sought to expose his unregulated investment schemes. Harris, who renounced his American citizenship, and became a Panamanian, offered what he called sophisticated legal tax avoidance planning to US taxpayers, and became a target for American law enforcement agencies. Rumor has it that he is now engaged in seeking out certain individuals who helped themselves to some of his millions, when he was deported to the US, to face money laundering charges.