Tag Archives: CL Financial

Colman Commission ignoring the smell of dirty money?

Afra Raymond asks where the money came from in the first place

Auntie Moses says that all money has a smell. Honestly-earned money smells clean and dishonest money stinks to high heaven. If you put too much of that dirty money in your purse, you start to stink too. So says Auntie Moses and she’s generally correct about those kinds of ethical issues.

Our friend Afra Raymond has noticed a little problem over at the Colman Commission into the CL Financial – CLICO debacle. I’ll let Afra explain it…

“There also seems to be a strange situation on CL Financial, since I am told that none of the affected people are willing to come forward to testify.  I am not very surprised at that and it is yet another indication of the extent of that toxic ‘Code of Silence‘.

What a shame!  25,000 policyholders said to be affected by the failure of CL Financial, yet only one is willing to testify.  Only One!   I wrote before in this space about the probability that a high proportion of those EFPA monies had never been screened by rigorous Anti Money Laundering (AML) procedures.  I suggested to the Minister of Finance that provisions be made in the payout agreements for the applicants for bailout monies to have the source of their funds vetted for compliance with VAT, PAYE, Income and Corporation taxes.  The Minister did not adopt those proposals.

So, what we now have is the spectacle of the Colman Commission set up by the government to examine the causes of the collapse and finding that few want to speak, very few.  I don’t know if it’s dirty money, or ‘keeping it in the family‘ or what…but I do hope that Colman takes a robust approach by using his powers to sub-poena people to appear and testify.”

Read the whole dirty story at Afra Raymond Colman Commission considerations

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Retirement planning by CL Financial Directors & Officers: They got their money!

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

When did CL Financial & CLICO insiders know that the group was heading for collapse?

by Afra Raymond

When you consider increasing lifespans, inflation and the greater likelihood of major medical expense, it is clear that proper retirement planning should be a major factor for most people.

Central to the growth and long-term success of the CL Financial group was its ability to mobilise the retirement savings of the Caribbean people in pursuance of its wider commercial objectives.  I have been writing on how it all went wrong and who is to blame.

In preparing my submissions for the Colman Commission it occurred to me that the retirement planning of the 3 CL Financial chiefs is central to understanding the entire fiasco.  It is rich in irony.

Fiduciary Duty of Directors and Officers

When did the Directors and Officers of CL Financial (CLF) know that the group was heading to collapse? 

When did the Directors and Officers of the failed subsidiaries know? 

What did they know and when did they know it? How much warning did their management controls give them?

The questions are pertinent and the time-line is instructive – Continue reading

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Tourist writes: “History, beauty… no longer relevant in Barbados”

Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

by Cindy Martell, American visitor to Barbados

I am so saddened to read of the senseless loss of Sam Lords Castle. My husband and I took our honeymoon in Barbados at Sam Lords Castle when it was a Marriott property 19 years ago. We treasured every moment and the tales of Sam Lord, evil as he may have been. Sam Lords dinner was a highlight of our trip and history of the castle.

I learned of its tragic fate while researching for a return to trip to Barbados for our 20th Anniversary. I’m quite certain we will find a new special place as the history and riches that took us to Barbados originally appear to no longer be relevant. Tourists come for history and beauty, riches you can’t build with concrete.

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CL Financial CLICO Bailout: Afra Raymond’s ultimatum to Finance Ministry for ignoring FOI law

Ten days to produce The Duprey Letter, CL Financial’s 2008 audited accounts

After a year of breaking the Freedom of Information law, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Finance is still ignoring Afra Raymond’s Freedom of Information requests for the January 13, 2009 “Duprey” letter and the December 31, 2008 accounts for the CL Financial Group.

Afra has given T&T 10 days to produce the documents or off to court they go.

It just shows how even at this late date the evil forces of corruption are still trying to hide the truth from the taxpayers and the victims of Duprey, Parris, the auditors and the rest of the crooks. Continue reading

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CL Financial disaster: Did Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Karen Nunez-Tesheira get her money out?

Afra Raymond digs deeper…

“The 325 (CL Financial) shareholders are listed alphabetically, as at 7th September 2008, with details of their occupations and addresses also supplied.  Of course, that list shows, at #289, the then Minister of Finance – Karen Nunez-Tesheira – as Karen Tesheira, Attorney-at-Law – holding some 10,410 shares.”

“Another thing that is striking is that Lawrence Duprey would appear to have only three blocks of shares in his ownership –

  • #47 – CL Duprey Investment Trust – holding 1,634,335 shares, but we are unable to find the details on that company.
  • #78 – DALCO Capital Management Company Limited of #37 Frederick Street, POS – holding 1,947,833 shares. I am assuming that DALCO is a play on his initials – Lawrence Andre Duprey LAD, reversed.
  • #302 – Trustees of CL Financial Limited – holds 119,145 shares.

I am taking that to mean that Lawrence Duprey had under his direct control a maximum of 3,701,313 shares – i.e. 49.35% of the group’s entire shareholding…slightly less than half.”

Further Reading

Afra Raymond posted a story with CL Financial’s Annual Return filed 2009 and as usual he’s like a terrier worrying a bone: he won’t let go. Good for you Afra! Keep at ’em!

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Leroy Parris’ defence of Prime Minister David Thompson rings hollow now

We know now that on May 15, 2005 while acting as CLICO’s lawyer, David Thompson signed a secret contract between CLICO and Leroy Parris’ private company that in effect deceived shareholders into believing that Parris was being paid less than he really was.

After the CLICO house of cards fell, CLICO told the government Oversight Committee – a toothless creation of Prime Minister David Thompson – that the company had no record or knowledge of the Clico’s contracts with Leroy Parris.

Prime Minster David Thompson kept silent although he knew the truth.

Those who say that Thompson had to keep silent about a matter that happened when he was CLICO’s lawyer only emphasize how unethical it was for Prime Minister Thompson to be hands-on during the CLICO meltdown as he was. It was fine for David Thompson to maintain the client confidentiality of something he did when he was a lawyer. It was unethical for him to insert himself into the workings of the CLICO oversight while he was still protecting CLICO and Parris.

I am sorry to say that David Thompson – the man who promised us transparency, ethical government, Freedom of Information legislation, Conflict of Interest standards and integrity legislation – betrayed us in his words and in his deeds.

David Thompson chose to protect CLICO and his friend Leroy over the interests of the people of Barbados and other CLICO shareholders and victims.

Clico ad - click for large

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Arthur again attempted to politicize the CLICO issue last Sunday by suggesting that Prime Minister David Thompson is to blame and should be made to account for the company’s present situation. It is public knowledge that Mr. Thompson served as a lawyer for CLICO before he became prime minister. He was not the only one and several other lawyers also did work for the company. Mr. Thompson was not involved in any way in the management of CLICO’s affairs. He only provided legal advice which management was free to accept or reject, as was the case with any other attorney.”

… from an advert published by Leroy Parris on Friday March 26, 2010.

 

Dear Mr. Parris,

I read your spirited March 26, 2010 advert where you say that Owen Arthur wanted CLICO to serve as “cash cow for the BLP” in the 2007/2008 Barbados election campaign.

From the little information that has appeared in the media, we know that CLICO and CL Financial gave big money to politicians in the Caribbean, but we don’t know how much you, your family, CLICO or associated companies gave in Barbados over the last, say, 10 years.

Well, Mr. Parris? How much money did CLICO and its associated companies channel to David Thompson and the DLP over the last 10 years?

This is our formal invitation to you Mr. Parris: If anything we’ve said is incorrect, write us from an email address that we can confirm is yours and we’ll publish what you have to say without change or comment, and allow you to communicate with the same audience that read this article.

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Commission of Enquiry into the failure of CL Financial Limited, et al

“It is my submission that the means by which our political parties are financed is at the very heart of this affair.”

“…the very purpose of the Enquiry will be frustrated unless the Terms of Reference are robustly interpreted.”

“Political Party financing is at the centre of the fiasco.”

Afra Raymond’s second submission to the Commission

by Afra Raymond

Afra Raymond’s second submission to the Commission of Enquiry into the failure of CL Financial Limited, Colonial Life Insurance Company (Trinidad) Limited, Clico Investment Bank Limited, Caribbean Money Market Brokers Limited, and The Hindu Credit Union Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited

My name is Afra Martin Raymond and I am a Chartered Surveyor, being a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.  I am Managing Director of Raymond & Pierre Limited – Chartered Valuation Surveyors, Real Estate Agents and Property Consultants.  I am also the President of the Joint Consultative Council for the Construction Industry (JCC), an umbrella organisation which represents the interests of Engineers, Surveyors, Architects, Town Planners and Contractors in this Republic.

This submission is being made in my personal capacity and does not represent the position of either Raymond & Pierre Limited or the JCC.

My work on this vital issue has all been based on the public record and can be seen at www.afraraymond.com. I am willing to give oral evidence before the Commission.

My areas for focus in this submission are –

Fiduciary Duty of Directors and Officers

The burning question is – When did the Directors and Officers of CL Financial (CLF) know that the group was heading to collapse?  When did the Directors and Officers of the failed subsidiaries know?

What did they know and when did they know it?

How much warning did their management controls give them?  The question is pertinent and the time-line is instructive – Continue reading

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CL Financial – CLICO Bailout: Who will run from the Colman Commission submissions deadline?

Rape of the ordinary person: Privatized profits, Socialized losses.

That greed and fraud are prime causes in the collapse of the CL Financial / Clico house of cards is obvious to anyone. In Trinidad and Tobago, the Colman Commission is charged with getting to the bottom of the disaster – at least on the surface. Most of us believe it will be nothing more than a whitewash with all the big-boys doing their best to conceal their own roles and protect their fellow conspirators.

Let’s not forget the goals and strategies of people like Lawrence Duprey and Leroy Parris…

  1. Maintain the Code of Silence.
  2. Delay, delay, delay.
  3. Secure their personal assets, well hidden away and/or transferred to proxies, family etc.
  4. Argue that they were victims of the “world financial crisis” and events over which they had no control, and could not have been expected to foresee.
  5. Destroy records, use legal means to avoid showing records, and do everything in their power to avoid having to answer direct questions in public.
  6. Above all, first and last: Maintain the Code of Silence.

Caribbean news media maintains the Code of Silence

In his most recent article on the debacle, journalist Afra Raymond compares the US bailout with T&T and makes the stunning observation that, proportionately, the Trinidad and Tobago CL Financial bailout is TEN TIMES WORSE than the US situation. Paying this off will take food from the mouths of Caribbean children for generations.

Thanks to Lawrence Duprey, Leroy Parris and all the rest of the scum who did this to our future by Privatizing profits and Socializing losses.

Afra Raymond also makes a list of some people – including news editors – who should be making submissions to the Colman Commission. Oh yes… for years these people took big advertising revenues from CL Financial and Clico and ran “exclusive” news stories about the companies that were little more than advertisements. In exchange for advertising money and free content, the Caribbean news media pumped CL Financial, Clico and publicly worshiped Duprey, Parris and the rest while ignoring the many elephants in the room.

The news media has much to atone for…

by Afra Raymond

Smashing the Code of Silence

I have been preparing my submissions for the Colman Commission and took some time-out to start reading the Report into the USA’s financial crisis.

Of course I am referring to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Report, which was published at the end of last month, about a year after its first hearings – see http://c0182732.cdn1.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/fcic_final_report_full.pdf.

Even though I have barely scratched the surface of this 662-page work, it has already been a deeply fascinating read, filled with cautionary insights.

The first conclusion of that Report is worth citing –

We conclude this financial crisis was avoidable. Continue reading

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Caribbean Money Market Brokers Limited (CMMB) failed – but you could say it was planned

CL Financial Scandal gets more sordid

The slogan of CL Financial’s CMMB was “Intelligent Investing” but the reality is shown by their return on assets for the five years before their collapse:

2005 – 1.22%
2006 – 0.97%
2007 – 0.0015%
2008 – 0.0043%
2009 – 0.0094%

Yours truly, Robert, managed to average an annual 7.32% return on my personal investments over the same period and I know virtually nothing about investing.

There are big, big questions about the CL Financial, CLICO debacle: most of them unlikely to be answered by those with dirty hands. Our friend Afra Raymond kicks off the new year by continuing to ask questions in his usual devastating manner which I liken to a stiletto in the heart of the CL Financial and CLICO “executives” and their enablers: the politicians and PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors…

Given the very low profits earned during CMMB’s operations, there are two inescapable questions arising – “What is the real reason for the CL Financial group to hold onto this company?” and “What was in it for them?”

From the new AfraRaymond.com article The CMMB story

PricewaterhouseCoopers – Devouring widows’ houses

“Which devour widows’ houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.”

Luke 20:47, King James Bible

How many lives did PricewaterhouseCoopers ruin because they did not do their duty? Continue reading

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CL Financial debacle: Did Caribbean Money Market Brokers (CMMB) collapse or not?

The big question for me is how come the chiefs of CMMB, a financial institution which is reported to have failed on this scale, can be permitted to open another one?

We are acting as if we have no capacity to learn from our errors.  Just carrying on as though nothing happened…”

Some chickens never come home to roost

by Afra Raymond

The headline was an arresting one – ‘Investment pros set up new business‘ at page 10 of the Business Guardian of 9th December. It was reported that a new investment house, KSBM, was launched and it seemed that they were profiling.

Given that all four of KSBM’s Executive Directors are ex-CMMB chiefs, there is an inescapable question…“Did CMMB collapse, or did they not?”

Our society’s level of development will be limited by our capacity to reason and learn from that reasoning.  The Code of Silence must be destroyed if we are to progress. Continue reading

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CL Financial bailout: “Amazing scenes were witnessed”

“A glaring example of the kind of wanton wrongdoing at the heart of this mess…  Clico Investment Bank fails to file its Corporation Tax returns for three years, yet keep their banking licence and arrange for the taxpayer to bail them out when it all goes sour.”

Where are the two-years past due audited accounts for CL Financial?

by Afra Raymond

The new situation is charged with peril and one is reminded of Naipaul’s father, the intrepid journalist from ‘A House for Mr. Biswas’ whose favourite tagline was ‘…amazing scenes were witnessed…’.

Trinidad & Tobago Finance Minister, Winston Dookeran, addressed Parliament on the Finance Bill (No. 2) 2010 on Wednesday 24th November.  It was a lengthy and detailed statement, which put things into a necessary perspective.  For me, it was important that Dookeran gave priority to the claims of the contractors and of course, the last item being the claims being made by the various groups representing Clico policyholders.

The Finance Minister held his position as set out in the 2011 budget, which was no surprise when one considers his statement that the various submissions received from the policyholders’ groups did not withstand scrutiny.  I only had two significant concerns in terms of outstanding items which require proper attention. Continue reading

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Caribbean New Media Group fires journalist Afra Raymond, stops his CL Financial, CLICO fraud coverage

Afra Raymond too effective, too insightful in his CL Financial, Clico stories

The Trinidad and Tobago state-run media company Caribbean New Media Group (CNMG) recently fired contract journalist and television host Afra Raymond without notice and without explanation – then backdated their faxed letter to him.

“Remember this folks: CL Financial – CLICO damage control by the involved governments and politicians is all about getting the public to foot the bill, while ensuring that the crooks keep their profits and Florida mansions and stay out of jail.

Afra Raymond stands in the way, so out he goes.”

Afra Raymond is a chartered surveyor, journalist and television host whose intensive and detailed coverage of the CL Financial – CLICO scandal has caused much embarrassment and fear to some very important persons, companies and organisations. Continue reading

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CL Financial and CLICO bailout: The bizarre endgame

“There was a series of large-scale, rapid withdrawals of funds before the start of the bailout.  That pattern of activity would have speeded-up the collapse.”

“We have entered a new stage.  This is where all those trusting people, who were told to wait and have faith, are realizing that the people in the know have already withdrawn and secured themselves.  Some of those people in the know were the same ones who were telling the faithful to keep on waiting.  What a thing.”

by Afra Raymond

A Season of Unreason

We are now entering a bizarre endgame in this rounds of musical chairs.  The children’s game has returned for us adults, but with a vengeance.

As I wrote on 10th September, the big question is ‘When exactly did the CL Financial group collapse?’.

To understand this huge matter we need to put things in the correct order –

Firstly, the CL Financial chiefs left others holding the risks –

  • LA Monteil – retired at the end of March 2008
  • MA Fifi – retired in August 2008
  • Robert Mayers – retired in December 2008.

What did they know and when did they know it?

Secondly, there was a series of large-scale, rapid withdrawals of funds before the start of the bailout.  That pattern of activity would have speeded-up the collapse.  It would be very interesting to see details of who broke their deposits and failed to ‘roll-over’ in that crucial final stage. Continue reading

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When Owen Arthur praised Leroy Parris and CLICO

“Listening to Mia Mottley and Owen Arthur, one would think that the CLICO affair is entirely a DLP problem. The BLP want the populace to forget about the 14 years they were responsible for letting Parris and CLICO run wild and roughshod over the interests of Barbados…”

by Nevermind Kurt

The close family and business relationship between our current Prime Minister David Thompson and former CLICO mis-director Leroy Parris is well known and the subject of numerous BFP articles and cartoons.

Leroy Parris is Godfather to one of Thompson’s daughters and Thompson is Godfather to Leroy’s son. Leroy Parris is a longtime financial and political supporter of David Thompson and the DLP. David Thompson also did lawyering for Parris and CLICO for years and years.

It was and still is a cosy relationship where Parris looked after Thompson during the Opposition years, supplying money to grease the DLP political wheels and lucrative jobs to Thompson’s law firm. He provided Thompson with connections, other clients and perks like the use of the CL Financial corporate jet and I’m not only talking about the trips that are publicly known and covered in BFP’s articles.

In return when elected Prime Minister, Thompson provided millions in bailout bucks when CLICO collapsed and made sure there was no independent judicial oversight once the trouble became known. When things went all to hell for Parris, Thompson gave him a cushy job as head of the CBC – Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. Once in charge of the CBC, Parris worked with Thompson’s former campaign communications director (now a CBC employee), Reudon Eversley, to make the news organization effectively an arm of the DLP government.

As an example of what they can accomplish when they put their minds to it, the CBC covered the Sam Lord’s Castle fire on the night it burned, but haven’t mentioned it since! Neither have they performed anything but perfunctory reporting on the CLICO – CL Financial collapse. One doesn’t have to be clairvoyant to see the DLP and Leroy Parris agenda in CBC’s reporting. Thanks to Parris and Thompson, the organisation’s credibility is at an all-time low.

Naturally, the BLP are upset that Parris was put in charge of the CBC and BLP spokespersons rightfully remind the voters of this fact whenever they can. But the BLP conveniently forget that they were great friends with Parris too. Listening to Mia Mottley and Owen Arthur, one would think that the CLICO affair is entirely a DLP problem.

The BLP want the populace to forget about the 14 years they were responsible for the non-oversight of CLICO – when the BLP let Parris and CLICO run wild and roughshod over the interests of Barbados. Continue reading

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Sam Lord’s Castle as an over-valued asset in the CLICO – CL Financial pyramid fraud

In 2005 CLICO’s Leroy Parris said he had to talk with CL Financial about Sam Lord’s Castle, but…

Isn’t the official line that Clico Holdings (Barbados) was “separate and distinct” from its parent company CL Financial in Trinidad?

The burning of Sam Lord’s Castle two days ago was predictable, and was predicted by us in April of 2009.

What is interesting though, is that the burning is causing folks to reexamine how Sam Lord’s Castle fit into the CL Financial and CLICO pyramid fraud. After reading a recently updated article at The Antillean, I think that Leroy Parris probably now regrets some of what he said in a 2005 press conference. Continue reading

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Code of Silence surrounds CL Financial bailout

Many professionals knew what was coming. Some withdrew their money. All kept silent.

by Afra Raymond

“The Code of Silence is deep and powerful in the case of the CL Financial bailout.”

“Aside from legally-empowered regulators, there are other informal ‘regulators’ upon whom society relies to make decisions.  With one notable exception, the informal ‘regulators’ have been silent throughout this CL Financial fiasco and have failed the broader society in this colossal matter.”

Throughout this series of articles on the CL Financial bailout I have touched on the existence and effect of a Code of Silence amongst our ruling elite.

This is sometimes called the Information Age, with the latest news and ideas being ‘pinged’ or ‘tweeted’ across the Social Networks.  The new reality demands a complete shift in our attitudes to information.  Our leadership class has blatantly refused to share their information and insights at moments of crisis, which shows the challenge facing us if we are to progressContinue reading

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Secret CL Financial bailout of 325 very special shareholders

“If the CL Financial group is insolvent, then how are we paying for all this? Yes, that is the big question.”

“For the record, no one from the previous government or the Central Bank, for that matter, has ever even attempted to justify the rotten terms of this bailout.  Not even an attempt to explain the interest-free, unlimited, unsecured loan to that lucky group of 325 CL Financial shareholders.”

What is this campaign?

by Afra Raymond

We are witness to a second wave of assault on our Treasury.  Let us be sure, those of us who are not in line to benefit directly from the bailout, that the picture is complicated and it contains perils for the entire country.

The original bailout was an unjustifiable and colossal facility granted to the CL Financial Chiefs and the shareholders of that failed, privately-owned, group. I say facility because the taxpayers’ money in our Treasury was pledged to repay the debts of the CL Financial group.

The deal was hatched in secret. The fact is, upon reflection, its terms were never formally debated in our Parliament. Continue reading

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CL Financial – CLICO Investment Bank scandal. Inspector of Financial Institutions Carl Hiralal part of the cover-up.

Afra Raymond calls Carl Hiralal’s affidavits “disturbing”, “unbelievable”, “stunning”

The House on the Corner

by Afra Raymond

Some insights into CIB – CLICO Investment Bank

I am starting to look at the CLICO Investment Bank (CIB) and its operations, as revealed by the ongoing bailout.

CIB is a very interesting part of the saga, because even prior to the collapse of the CL Financial group there was a widely-held view that CLICO and CIB were parts of the group which were responsible for raising finance for their ambitious plans.  Even though the interest rates offered by CLICO and CIB were incredibly high – about twice the average offered by others – it would have been much more expensive for the CLF group to borrow those funds via loans.  The view was that the group had a legitimate method of harvesting funds on terms advantageous to them.

In April this year the Central Bank applied to the High Court to have CIB ‘wound-up’, due to its insolvency, estimated in that submission to be of the order of $4.7Bn.  That application to wind-up is being opposed by the NGC and the National Insurance Board (NIB).  Those matters are still before the Courts, which I only mention because the documents filed there give a disturbing insight into the CIB mystery. Continue reading

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