Category Archives: Business & Banking

Bitcoin Barbados connection

bitcoin_barbadosThe massive half-billion dollar theft of Bitcoins from Mt. Gox took a new twist today as allegations surfaced that Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles lied about the alleged theft.

For me, I’ll put my little wealth in gold, silver, artificially low Chinese currency, land and tools. If everything else fails, tools can keep you fed and happy.

There’s nothing like a new 90 degree drill and a few good clecos to make me happy.

Bitcoin? Ya takes ya chances…

The recent success of Bitcoin, a decentralized cryptographic currency, has raised new research questions on the opportunities and risks of virtual currencies. A handful of research papers have appeared in multiple disciplines, spanning a range of outlets, including top security conferences, legal journals, and reports of international financial organizations. This workshop aims to bring together interested scholars who study virtual currencies, Bitcoin in particular, and their supporting ecosystems from a technical or socio-economic perspective.”

… from the website of International Financial Cryptography and Data Security AssociationThey sure got that one wrong!

While Media Chased Nakamoto, Crypto-Geeks in Barbados Marveled at his Creation

While the hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto morphed into a media circus last week, a community of cryptocurrency experts from which the bitcoin founder likely sprang was tucked away in sunny Barbados discussing the present and future of his remarkable invention.  Continue reading

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Hey Buddy, can you spare Barbados a dime?

How is it possible that we are here? Begging the EU, begging China, begging anyone to help us keep the lights on and the water flowing?

Leadership – that’s what got us into this mess, and the same leadership says it can take us out of the mess: but only if we beg and borrow…

BRIDGETOWN—The European Union says it is willing to provide Bds$100 million to Barbados in grant funding. A statement issued following talks between Barbados and EU delegations, noted that the funds would become available once certain macro-economic and public finance criteria were fully met. It said Bds$65 million could become available to Barbados this year. The European Union last year released Bds$28 million for the Barbados Human Resource Development Programme, while another Bds$15 million was provided through the Barbados Renewable Energy Programme, all in the form of non-reimbursable grants. The EU delegation was led by Ambassador Mikael Barfod, while Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler led the Barbados team. “The EU would like you to know that it could assist Barbados in leaving the present crisis behind,” Barfod told Sinckler.

Guardian Media

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Former Hindu Credit Union president Harry Harnarine pays the price for failure

“Harnarine said his biggest concern is that if he is declared bankrupt although he may soon successfully attain his law degree, he would be unable to practice.

During the recently concluded enquiry into the failure of HCU several depositors who were unable to withdraw funds from the institution blamed Harnarine personally for the death of family members.”

Harry Harnarine wants to be lawyer!

Harry Harnarine wants to be lawyer!

The failure of the Hindu Credit Union destroyed lives, pensions, families and businesses.

And when we say that HCU destroyed lives, we mean exactly that. Distraught people killed themselves because they trusted Harry Harnarnie with everything they had, and Harnarine and his cohorts betrayed that trust.

Now we see that what goes around comes around.

The T&T High Court says that Harry Harnarnie owes Afra Raymond $868,000…

… and Harnarnie doesn’t have that kind of cash lying around.

Or so he says.

* quote from Trinidad Express Final straw to kill me

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Sir Charles Williams – no government contracts so I’m firing workers over 65 years old

Sir Charles Williams Barbados

Over 65? No place for you at C.O. Williams Construction Limited

COW Williams makes some valid criticisms about the uneven playing field for government contracts in his latest interview with The Nation, but he lost me when he told how he chooses to make people redundant: he fires people over 65 years old.

Williams retains people not by merit, or seniority and loyalty: exactly the opposite. The over 65 crowd is his target, for the most part the folks who have been with him the longest, who have shown loyalty and helped to build the company for decades.

But they are old now, not quite what they used to be. All used up, damaged. Slower.

So they are the first to go.

“Not one single monthly paid worker has gotten a bonus for the last four years in order that we can keep people to work. We had to look at the possibility of laying off some people. The last thing I want to do is to have to send home more staff. We have cut it to a minimum but we have had to send home staff, primarily those who are past 65 and that sort of thing,”

Sir Charles Williams talks to The Nation in Not fair, says Sir Charles

Am I being too hard on Sir Cow? He makes a good argument on how difficult and unfair things are in the awarding of government contracts, and it must be difficult to have to choose people to be made redundant.

But to reward long term loyalty by firing?

Shame. Shame, Mr. Williams. Shame.

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Moody’s downgrades Barbados: Does it really matter? We’re already ‘junk’ status!

 moodys Barbados credit rating

Is devaluation a now a given?

by West Side Davie

There comes a time during a bankruptcy when the debtor stops caring. The debtor realises that there is nothing more they can do and it’s all about the ride and having a place to sleep and a meal or two a day. I’ve been there myself, and although I don’t care to go into the personal details I can assure you that your skin gets thick and tough and very quickly you get a new attitude that allows you to survive and even thrive as your finances and everything you have crumbles. Mostly your woman leaves. No money, no honey!

With assets of $20,000 and debts of $100,000, it doesn’t really matter if the debts climb to $200,000 or $300,000…. I can’t pay it! You think, “Let it go sky high! Why should I care?”

Unless the debts were passed onto your children like the indentured slaves and sharecroppers of the past – or of the present in some countries.

Back to Bim… Barbados has a few more assets than I did, but the people in charge of the money are going to squeeze us for more interest. They do this by lowering the ratings. The lean years are here and our so-called leaders never put away a dollar during the times of plenty.

IN CONTRAST to the prevailing mood of confidence over the economic future of Trinidad and Tobago, there is spreading depression across in Barbados where thousands of public sector workers are facing retrenchment early next year as the government anxiously seeks to avoid a devaluation of the Barbados dollar.

Here in Trinidad and Tobago, while Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was last week playing a “Santa Claus” role with her offer of a 20 per cent rebate over the past two days on a range of widely consumed basic commodities, the Guyana the government of President Donald Ramotar found much comfort in another consecutive year of  economic growth.

(snip)

Having concluded an arrangement with the IMF that included, for a start, the bitter medicine of some 3,000 job cuts in the public sector, or face the threat of devaluation of the Barbados dollar,  the Democratic Labour Party administration of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has Barbadians in a mood of spreading gloom.

Accustomed to applause from international financial institutions and credit rating agencies as having the most stable currency in this region-50 cents to the US dollar-the prospect of having to cope with a devalued dollar is viewed by Barbadians as sacrilegious talk.

… from the Trinidad Express Spectre of devaluation

Bajans are well and truly screwed. And so are the next generations because we keep mortgaging the future for our children.

The answer from our leaders is never to stop borrowing and to make do. It never is that. Always the answer is to pay whatever is asked in interest and go to the money men.

Tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to get a little squat, work hard and save. I’m not going to continue to borrow money. I’m going to reorganise my life, downsize, and work hard.

But I’m not going to borrow more money if that borrowing is on the heads of my children…

Another downgrade for Barbados

Moody’s Investors Service on has downgraded Barbados’ government bond rating to Ba3 from Ba1, putting the country’s rating deeper into junk territory.

It cited the country’s “continued anemic economic performance”; ongoing deterioration in the government’s financial strength, due to persistently large fiscal deficits and rising debt levels; the deterioration in the government’s debt profile as a result of the significant increase in domestic short-term borrowings over the past two years; and the fall in foreign exchange reserves by more than 30 percent during January-September to $505 million for its two-notch downgrade. Continue reading

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Senator Jeptor Ince advised seniors to borrow to invest in the CLICO disaster… Now cautions on need for financial regulations!

jepter ince CLICO barbados

“Mr. Ince, why don’t you tell us what returns you’ve achieved for your clients since you created the CLICO Balanced Fund in 2000? How did all those folks do who borrowed money from you to invest in your fund so you could put that money back into Clico? Huh? How did they do?”

from the BFP article People You Can Rely Upon: Pretty Ethiopian Orphans, Rich African Widows, CLICO Investment Bankers…

In our ‘Please just shoot me because this is so bloody unbelievable’ department…

Senator Jeptor Ince says “Despite the significant contributions that this growing non-banking financial sector can make to the development of our country, one still has to remain cautious in ensuring that the investor and customer alike are protected,”

Wuhloss!

This man is talking about protecting investors and customers!

He, Jepter Ince, who destroyed the life savings of countless old folks by advising them to invest in CLICO? He, Jepter Ince, who advised old folks to mortgage their home to borrow money to invest in the future?

Ince was appointed by now-dead PM David Thompson – probably to keep him quiet. Jepter Ince, the instant tourism expert.

Sometimes I need a stiff drink in the middle of the morning…

Strict rules for financial sector

from The Nation

Government is keen on welcoming new investment in the non-bank sector, but it will not be doing so at the expense of stringent regulations.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and the Financial Services Commission will therefore be maintaining their vigilance of these financial institutions.

Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Senator Jepter Ince, gave Government’s position on the issue yesterday during the official launch of microfinance company Axcel Finance Barbados at its McGregor Street, Bridgetown office. Continue reading

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Barbados offshore banking: meet rock and hard place…

tax cheater Barbados

submitted by Blackman

Few working class Bajans really understand the connection between our offshore banking / corporate industry and high quality tourism visitors. The downturn of mass tourism (or tourism for the masses, including cruise ship spend per passenger) is only a part of the story.

Another segment of our long-stay, high spend per visitor tourism industry is under assault because of international (primarily American) pressure to report our offshore banking clients to foreign governments.

It looks like the Barbados government is rolling over on this issue, but to be fair, what else can we do? Barbados: meet rock and hard place…

Barbados Eyes Inter-Governmental Agreement With US on FATCA

Barbados has signaled its intention to the United States of concluding a reciprocal Inter-Governmental Agreement to apply to the US’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said Thursday.

The Prime Minister said Barbados was “aware that an atmosphere of certainty was needed for domestic and international operators in our banking sector and other entities which met the criteria of foreign financial institutions under FATCA to thrive.”

“I look forward, therefore, to being able in the coming weeks to announce formally that the US is favourably disposed to negotiating a reciprocal Model 1 inter-governmental agreement with us,” he said. “And from our end, we will be working towards concluding agreement by year-end.”

The law requires the automatic exchange of US taxpayers’ foreign banking information. That places it in the same policy space as exchanges under the OECD, he said.  Continue reading

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Canadian Government Broadcaster hires private investigator to expose Barbados tax haven loopholes

canada_barbados_flag

What don’t these Canadian journalism types get about Barbados?

The answer is simple: The Canadian laws are not being broken, they are being used as they were intended.

It’s the same with the American IRS regulations. If the Americans, Brits and Canadians don’t want their citizens to transfer income offshore, then those governments should make it illegal and rescind the tax laws that make these schemes possible. Until that time, places like Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Bermuda will continue to welcome Canadian, American and Brit business people who can’t survive with the 30, 40 and 50 percent tax rates of their homelands!

Tax avoidance: Canada-Barbados tax deal loopholes revealed

An exclusive CBC News hidden-camera investigation into the world of offshore banking found professionals in Canada and Barbados willing to help hide business profits in Barbados by exploiting loopholes in a long-standing tax saving arrangement between the two countries.

“My advice to [the Canada Revenue Agency] would be, every time you see a Barbados [company] in the structure, investigate it,” said an individual who used to run one of Canada’s largest offshore companies and also spent time in prison.

For decades, Canadian companies have flocked to Barbados with their cash in order to legally avoid paying Canadian taxes. If a Canadian company wants to expand its business outside of Canada, it can create a subsidiary in Barbados where it can park its international profits. This way, it legally doesn’t have to pay Canadian taxes on those profits.

… read the rest of the article at CBCnews Canada: Tax avoidance: Canada-Barbados tax deal loopholes revealed

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UK Financial Conduct Authority cautions investors on new Harlequin rescue plans

Harlequin Resort

“We urge financial advisers considering recommending consumers paying monies or further monies over to any of the companies in the Harlequin group at this time to proceed with caution.

You should ensure that consumers fully understand the risks involved with the investment. You should also advise consumers to obtain legal advice from lawyers in the country where the property is located before proceeding with any investment in a company in the Harlequin group.”

… UK Financial Conduct Authority

The last five or six months have seen a lot of talk of plans and schemes to rescue the investments of the poor folks who believed everything that Dave Ames said about Harlequin’s business plans. Nevermind that even the most mathematically challenged should have been able to see that Harlequin’s ability to continue to build relied upon finding new suckers, ah, ‘investors’ willing to suspend their disbelief as if they were watching a child’s cartoon on Saturday morning.

Harlequin was first and only a Ponzi scheme where payback to earlier investors was only possible with money from new investors. I’m not sure of the current situation but I think it is something like only 300 units built out of 6000 sold, and no money left to build the missing units.

Or so I think. No doubt one of our readers can provide the current stats.

The UK Financial Conduct Authority remains concerned about plans by various Harlequin entities to ‘save’ investors’ monies… with only a small additional investment. Ha!

Have a read of the notice and then… class, discuss!

Update to information on investments made through Harlequin Management Services (South East) Limited (“Harlequin Property”)

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued an alert to financial advisers on 18 January 2013 regarding this subject. Since 1 April, the Financial Conduct Authority is one of the UK’s two new financial regulators, which has replaced the FSA.

The alert sets out our expectations where financial advisers recommend overseas properties purchased through Harlequin Property. It also sets out what advisers need to do before recommending an overseas property investment through Harlequin Property.

The full text of the alert can be found here. The FCA’s Harlequin page can be found here.

Since this date, important developments have taken place as follows: Continue reading

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CL Financial – CLICO bailout: Afra Raymond documents The Treasury Scandal

CL Financial Fraud

“In my view the failure and or refusal to account for the colossal and unprecedented expense of the CL Financial bailout is indicative of a ‘Quiet Coup‘ against our Republic.  I am deliberately borrowing Simon Johnson’s potent phrase, used to describe the coup of Financial Capital against the USA published in a fascinating and essential article from The Atlantic.  The fact that two successive administrations have remained bound to these arrangements and the low priority given to transparency and accountability in this matter all speak to the potency of the plotters.”

Afra Raymond gives ‘em hell with The Treasury Scandal

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Barbados Inland Revenue fails to act on tax cheat information?

Barbados inland revenue

Stop the tax dodging – It killing We!

Contributed by anonymous BFP reader “W” *

As Barbadian citizens and tax payers we are always angry when others are not paying taxes when they should be. This information was brought to our attention over six months ago which we considered taking to the media but thought it was best to rightfully bring it to the attention of the Barbados tax office first. Information acquired has led to finding out that (company name removed by BFP) have been avoiding paying tax on cash payments for many years and continue to do so. They will take the first month’s rental from landlords as commission nearly always in cash and never declare it to the Inland Revenue. The cash figures in question are huge and when you consider this has been going on for many years without being declared it has made a number of us very angry.

What has made it worse is the fact this has been brought to the attention of Barbados tax office on 8th March for the attention of Mr Anderson Padmore who quite frankly seems to be not taking the matter seriously enough. Written evidence has been submitted to the tax office in the form of dates, landlords & addresses of the various rental contracts along with some detail of which ones were undeclared cash payments and still nothing has been done about it.

The fact that the owner of (company name removed by BFP) is part of the (charitable agency name removed by BFP) team makes it even more disturbing. We have no doubt that the accusation will be denied by them but it seems to us that there is more than enough evidence to investigate and prosecute. This company obviously thinks that they are above the law in this country and they need reminding in the firmest possible way that they are bound by the law along with the rest of us.

* A word from BFP’s editor: Just remember folks… anonymous information isn’t to be trusted without some independent thinking and research. Take it with a grain of salt, and then let’s talk! Our readers are often able to substantiate or disprove stories. Let’s see what our readers come up with for this story.

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Canada Supreme Court ruling hits Barbados offshore trusts and tax planning

canada_barbados_flag

“There was no bona fide purpose of the Barbados Spousal Trust other than to obtain the tax benefit,”

“I find the only motivation for this trust was to avoid tax, which would result in more money in Mrs. Antle’s hands. There was no element of estate planning. Mr. Antle could give the shares to his wife, pay the tax, leaving his wife $1.1 million, or he could settle a Barbados Spousal Trust, pay no tax, and leave $1.4 million in his wife’s hands. The purpose of the transaction is self-evident.”

… Canadian Appeal Court Judge Miller

Barbados Trust strategy called “Sham”

Sometimes I can’t understand all the ins and outs of how foreigners set up businesses and trusts in Barbados, but I do know why they do it: to avoid paying taxes back home.

The highest court in Canada has just turned down an appeal of a case involving the setting up of a trust in Barbados – done back in 1999 so a Canadian politician could avoid paying taxes on Canadian profits. Paul Antle transferred the company to a Barbados trust owned by his wife, who would then sell the company, take the profits in Barbados and make a loan to the husband back in Canada.

Got that?

The tax courts didn’t take kindly to that maneuvering and now the high Canadian court agrees.

So once more our offshore banking and companies industry feels the pinch. We need more tourists ’bout hey…

From the Canadian CBC…

A Federal Court of Appeal judge ruled in 2010 that a trust set up in the Caribbean by the wife of Liberal leadership candidate Paul Antle was a “sham” used to incorrectly shield more than $1 million from capital gains taxes.

That decision went a step further than a previous Tax Court of Canada ruling.

… continue reading this article at the Canadian CBC: Liberal hopeful lost ‘sham’ Barbados trust tax case

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More UK government attacks on Global Tax Avoidance and Income Shifting

Caribbean-bank-money_laundering

Barbados had better develop some new revenue streams… like yesterday!

submitted by Not Taken

Luxembourg / Barbados / Marshall Islands – tax avoidance and income shifting is all the same shell game but it’s becoming more difficult to hide due to computers and the communication and lobbying powers of the internet.

The Brits are out to stop the game. Canada (CRA) and US (IRS) are cracking down. Barbados is very exposed. Our Government should be prepared to see its revenue from offshore businesses to decline substantially. The billion of new Treasury Bill funding to pay its bills will disappear quickly.

And at the same time as our offshore banking and companies hosting industries are coming under pressure, our tourism seems to be in a death spiral.

Many of us foresaw this situation coming ten years ago. Only fools couldn’t see it coming five years ago.

So far I’ve heard nothing from either the DLP or the BLP except excuses and criticism without solutions capable of addressing this crisis. This is not a time for gentle, incremental solutions: it is a time for radical changes, not more of the same.

Have a look at this from a Canadian newspaper…

Amazon’s U.K. unit slammed for ‘pathetic’ $3.7-million tax bill

Amazon.com Inc.’s main U.K. unit paid $3.7-million (U.S.) of taxes on its 2012 income, it said on Wednesday, despite group UK sales of $6.5-billion, prompting criticism from lawmakers and competitors.

Amazon.co.uk Ltd. added in its accounts, published through the U.K. companies register, that it received £2.5-million ($3.8-million U.S.) in government grants during 2012 – just ahead of the £2.4-million it paid in corporation tax, the U.K. form of corporate income tax.

Corporate tax avoidance has risen to the top of the political agenda in Europe following revelations in the past couple of years about how little big names like Apple Inc., Starbucks, Google and Microsoft pay in tax in markets where they reap billions of dollars in sales.

The companies say they follow the rules but U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has called for international action on the shifting of profits, which can help firms cut tax bills. Continue reading

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Cameco tax mess complicated by Barbados offshore companies?

Canada Revenue Agency Barbados

Back in early May, BFP told our readers how a Canadian company avoided 1.4 billion in taxes by using an offshore subsidiary. We speculated what it means for Barbados as the Canadian tax authorities attempt to track down and close the tax loopholes that, frankly, are the life blood of our offshore banking and financial industries. (See Cameco tax case is scary for Barbados!)

In the Cameco case profits were diverted to a Swiss based subsidiary that paid a far lower tax rate than the Canadian operations of the uranium producing company.

Now one of our sharp-eyed BFP readers has come up with five Barbados offshore companies that look like they could have something to do with the Canadian Cameco company involved in the international tax mess. Some of the Directors appear throughout the companies and we wonder what it all means. According to some of the news accounts, Cameco shareholders are facing some hefty losses depending on the outcome in the Canadian courts.

We will continue to follow this case as it is a canary in the coal mine for the health of our offshore banking and companies revenues.

The Barbados offshore companies are:

CAMECO GLOBAL SOUTH AMERICA INC.

CAMECO INSURANCE SERVICES INC

CAMECO RESOURCES, L.L.C.

CAMECO SERVICES INC.

CAMECO URANIUM INC.

Here are the names of the Company Directors and Officers. Hmmmmm…. I recognize a few names!  Continue reading

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Cameco tax case is scary for Barbados!

Canada Revenue Agency Barbados

How a Canadian company avoided 1.4 billion in taxes by using an offshore subsidiary and what it means for Barbados

by Not Taken

Yet another interesting and scary for Barbados article in the business section of a major Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail: Cameco’s $800-million tax battle

I have been sending these recent articles as a public service so the Ministry of Finance and the Barbados Central Bank Governor have a heads up on the attack on Canadian tax evaders/avoiders that is undoubtedly about to hit the Barbados offshore industry; if in fact it has not already hit – but unreported.

This is very bad news for Barbados revenue sources.

While the Cameco case involves its Swiss subsidiary, it is probably just the tip of the iceberg in CRA’s efforts to collect taxes due to Canada. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of  “Canadaco (Barbados) Limited” businesses doing the same same transfer pricing schemes (scams) in order to pay 2% income tax to Barbados, rather than 27% to Canada.

Even those Canadian companies not not already being audited for this this type of tax “management” may decide for close up shop in Barbados to avoid the publicity that a CRA audit will bring.

Cameco’s CFO, retorts that Cameco Europe has its own board of directors and a full-time CEO, Gerhard Glattes, who has no other duties with the company. Cameco Europe provides Cameco with compensation for the management duties – like legal advice – it does not have its own staff for. “It was established in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations when it was set up.”

The Barbados registered Canadaco subsidiaries’ own boards of directors and full-time CEOs who have no other duties with the Canadian company should start planning for alternative sources of income. And of course it will have serious implications for the Barbados services providers; the legal community,  the management/bookkeeping companies, and the accountants when it happens.

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Barbados Government defaults on VAT refunds to business – years behind as unpaid debts mount

MP debt

Businesses forced to carry debt for the government

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Over the last twenty five years, I believe our small company has been a model corporate citizen on Barbados. We have no outstanding debt to either Government or the private sector, yet next week we will be forced to go cap-in-hand and beg our bankers for an overdraft facility.

Why, you may ask?

Simply to be able to cover our expenses, while we await several VAT refunds totalling over $32,000, which have been overdue for as long as two and a half years.

We are told that all the claims have been approved, but are ‘warned’ not to call the VAT office to chase when payment will be paid. Of course, we have tried to approach Government discreetly by writing to two Ministers with responsible for either for VAT or small businesses, but weeks later, neither have bothered to respond.

Recently under a banner headline in one of the media outlets entitled‘ VAT Division not taking full blame’ VAT division Auditor, Ryan Wiltshire, attempted to spread the blame onto another Government department, stating ‘it was up to the Treasury’.

Frankly, we are not interested, as already it is a burden to prop up as clearly unsustainable huge civil service that has been completely isolated from the reality of operating in the real world of commerce. And it is almost adding insult to injury when you see Government workers driving around in taxpayer funded luxury SUV vehicles.

Rarely a week goes by without hearing one Minister of another spout the importance of supporting small businesses, which are deemed globally as the best vehicles for economic recovery and employment generation.

Sadly, this appears only to be more political rhetoric and it is probably best to cease and desist at this time, as few out there believe you anymore.

Adrian Loveridge

Peach and Quiet (Barbados) Ltd

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West Indies Cricket Board embarrassed by Verus International fiasco

Barbados Advocate got fooled too... "The private merchant bank, which operates primarily in New York and Barbados, officially launched the new franchise-based Twenty20 tournament yesterday."

Barbados Advocate got fooled too… “The private merchant bank, which operates primarily in New York and Barbados, officially launched the new franchise-based Twenty20 tournament yesterday.”

Caribbean Premier League forgot to ask “When is a bank not a bank?”

by Googly Spinner

Verus International not a bank in Barbados!

Verus International not a bank in Barbados!

The West Indies Cricket Board just learned a lesson about the word ‘assume’. It’s that old lesson that if I ‘assume’ something it can make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’. Ass-u-me.

Yes, the Caribbean Premier League was a multi-million dollar deal with a big press announcement, pretty girls, lots of champagne and little cracker things – but somebody didn’t do their homework. Now all involved are more than a little embarrassed by the Barbados Central Bank announcement that the league source of funding and investment, Verus International ‘Merchant Bank’, is not a merchant bank in Barbados.

Verus International is nothing more than a name in a shoebox on a shelf in one of those cozy little offices where a thousand offshore companies operate from a single desk. It is not licensed to operate as a bank in Barbados but even the news media called Verus a “Private Merchant Bank operating in Barbados

That’s Barbados offshore corporations for you and that’s alright so long as everybody knows how things are… except that Verus International claimed they were a merchant bank operating in Barbados. The Versus International website doesn’t say that now, and they replaced their old website with a single page while they pedal faster to remove all the evidence on the internet. The Wayback archives never forget though!

Whether Verus International is licensed to be a Merchant Bank in Barbados might matter or it might not. Not much of the offshore money stays here anyway – Barbados is mostly a transit point for moving funds around, not a final destination.

Or… the lack of a banking license and government oversight and regulations might be important if things go bad.

Not a good beginning for the CPL deal because it shows that the West Indies Cricket Board management doesn’t do their basic homework and due diligence. That fault can make any organisation meat on a stick for the predators who can smell weakness and inexperience from miles away.

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Tax Havens under fire in massive new leak of hidden offshore accounts

Caribbean-bank-money_laundering

Washing money, Hiding money

contributed by “M”

Unlike the mainstream media in Barbados which seems disinclined to report on the financial shenanigans of its politicians/public figures (except the $75,000.00 cheque), the media in Canada has no such hesitation, as seen at the attached link to CBC website.  Other major media in Canada are running with the story. While 38 media outlets around the world are probing the data leaks reported in the material reported in Canada by CBC, I do not expect to read about it in the Barbados papers.

Canadian CBC: Senator’s husband put $1.7M in offshore tax havens

Canadian CBC: 450 Canadians in offshore leak

Yahoo! Finance: Report exposes secrets of offshore tax havens

While Barbados does not figure prominently in this and related CBC articles, I think Barbados authorities should be concerned.

Barbados is the third largest recipient of Canadian outward Foreign Direct Investment, after the USA and the UK; with the principal industry being “financial services”, which I expect is mainly in “offshore” accounts. Canadians are believed to to be the largest depositors in Barbados offshore bank accounts.

It may well be the case that all of those a legal.

Notwithstanding, with the spotlight being shone on the issue of  “offshore accounts” and “tax havens”, and Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s pledge in last week’s budget the government will bolster its efforts to fight offshore tax evasion, including launching a new whistleblower line that pays rewards for tips, improving compliance programs and demanding more information on certain financial transactions; it seems likely that some Canadians “investors” will choose to repatriate their foreign direct investments to Canada rather than face the scrutiny for Canada Revenue Agency

Not Taken

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