March 4, 2021

The Editor Speaks: Corruption and money laundering tarnishing Cayman’s image further

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Colin WilsonwebOur beautiful country, the , has been tarnished and mainly unfairly, with the reports of corruption in high places, the ‘nefarious’  Cayman tax haven with US President Obama adding his voice to the mud slinging, and money laundering where all the white collar crooks hang out.

Most of the reports are based on rumours and fiction that started with the best selling novel “The Firm”.

Television dramas repeatedly still talk of the Cayman Islands in hushed tones and when any crook wants to hide his ill gotten gains Cayman is the country top of the list.

It has been a long hard road trying to change our image and it was starting to work.

Premier Alden McLaughlin did an excellent job of giving the correct perspective of Cayman and all the safe guards that are in place here that make it difficult to launder money even before FACTA, when he appeared on the BBC television show HARDtalk recently.

Our friends from Cayman Enterprise City have also been on the ball in painting the true picture of Cayman.

McLaughlin in his message at the opening of the UCCI anti-corruption and ethics conference today (20) said everyone believes all politicians are corrupt and the expectations that anyone elected to office is a thief are so high that the good politicians are still defined as thieves.

“We must work collectively to educate and have everyone understand how widespread and how much of a negative impact corruption has on the future of our people,” he said.

It is difficult, however, to change people’s opinion as the bad is easier to believe than the good.

And all that good work has come to naught.

First we heard at the end of last week that prominent businessman, , has been arrested by US agents and incarcerated in on drug trafficking and money laundering charges. Merren has been accused of conspiring to smuggle as much as 3,000 kilos of cocaine from the US to Cayman and to launder the proceeds through businesses here and a Puerto Rican bank.

If that isn’t bad enough. we learn the managing director of Clover Asset Management, a Cayman Islands investment management firm, along with two other men with Cayman Islands connections have been charged in the US also with money laundering.

Clover was set up in 2007 by one of the accused, Eric St-Cyr, and to really put the icing on the cake Clover is a company approved by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).

The conspiracy involves the alleged transfer of the proceeds of crime from the to the Cayman Islands via the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The court documents say that and St Cyr and Joshua Van Dyke, an employee of Clover, told the US agents they charged clients more to launder criminal proceeds than to assist in tax evasion.

St-Cyr won the Bon Vivant contest at the 2012 Cayman Cook-off. He certainly is no amateur then in cooking the books.

He has also cooked our Country’s reputation with it, too.

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