Tag Archives: CL Financial

CL Financial’s “Barefoot Billionaire” Lawrence Duprey enjoying Monaco Grand Prix

Smiles come easily when spending OPM – other people’s money.

Lawrence Durprey - Barefoot Billionaire in Monaco 2007

Readers throughout the Caribbean deserve to see these photos and read the story of Lawrence Duprey and friends visiting the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix. After all – our grandchildren will be paying for Mr. Duprey’s crimes until they die. And yes, that is a US$100 “per cigar!” Cohiba in one of the photos. You can bet the wine isn’t from Tesco either.

Enjoy… but first a word about where this material comes from: Monaco Revue and DiversityCanada Foundation.

Although we are using this material under the Fair Use provisions of copyright because we are commenting upon the material and it is also public evidence of the crimes of Mr. Duprey and his gang, and therefore contains an overriding public interest in its publication at BFP, we ask each of our readers to visit Monaco Revue HERE to read the original material.

It looks like DiversityCanada Foundation and Monaco Revue have worthy goals and we encourage each of you to at least visit their websites and give them consideration.

We do note that according to the article, former Trinidad government minister Carlos John (and then “advisor” to Lawrence Duprey) is the “compatriot” of Monaco Revue’s editor.

Colman Commission evidence?

We also see that what was once an article about the elites having a good time in Monaco is now certain to be of interest to the Colman Commission inquiries into the CL Financial Fraud. Especially as the commission looks into the close relationship between Duprey and Ministers and former Ministers of the Trinidad & Tobago Government. This 2007 article is evidence of crimes and has a compelling public interest. Therefore we have been advised that the Fair Use provisions of copyright are exceptionally strong and allow us to publish the material here at BFP.

We hope that DiverstyCanada Foundation and Monaco Revue have the journalistic integrity to leave this information published at Monaco Revue.

Now on to watching Mr. Duprey and his friends spending your money on a good time… Continue reading

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CL Financial collapse: Colman Commission hiding facts from the public

“Sir Anthony Colman needs to be watchful of the wily attorneys, who may seek again to tempt him to agree to conceal some more financial information which might be awkward for their clients.

The fact is that all those companies are now being funded by the Treasury and we have a right to know what caused this huge mess.”

The Colman Commission – The Importance of Money

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission was established about a year ago as a Public Enquiry into the failure of the CL Financial group, some of its subsidiaries, and the Hindu Credit Union.  The Commission is also mandated to report on the causes of these costly failures, so that it can make recommendations for possible prosecutions and the regulatory or systemic changes needed to avoid further collapses.

There has been a lot of fresh information revealed at the Commission and that is good, since the public now has a much better view of the various episodes behind the scenes.  The sole Commissioner, Sir Anthony Colman, has now made a statement which outlines his progress in this huge and complex matter.  Colman expects to take at least one more year and will be continuing his examination of the HCU matter when the CL Financial stage is completed.

Despite all the evidence about staggering sums of money and the heated public discussion that has sparked, I am perturbed by the way the essential information is being handled.

Since it is a Public Enquiry into a huge financial collapse, the financial information has to be front and centre if we are to get at the facts.

It is common knowledge that the link between performance and pay is essential in obtaining quality results in any competitive situation.  That basic fact, with which most people would agree, is now seriously challenged by some of the key events in the global financial meltdown.  It is beyond the scope of this article to delve into the new learning emerging from this global crisis, suffice to say that the old learning has literally been ‘tested to destruction’.

An unhealthy relationship between pay and performance would be a problem for any company, but in a financial company the issue is worse.  That is because the investors expect those companies to endure and prosper, so that they can collect the expected returns.

The Colman Commission will be unable to fulfill its mandate if it does not uncover the relationship between pay and performance in the failed companies.  Colman will also need to consider the motives and behaviour of the investors, who must also form a significant part of the story.  Without their participation and investments, the failed companies would have had no money to lose.

There is a strong interest in keeping the real figures and circumstances out of the news and some of the main items are –

  • The Accounts
  • The true levels of salaries, fees, dividends and bonuses
  • The identities and sums of money returned to those who have benefited from the bailout
  • The delinquent borrowers who owe the failed companies huge sums of money
  • The extent to which the failed companies and their chiefs complied with our tax laws

In ‘The Colman Commission – Cloudy Concessions’, published here on 1st September, I pointed out the danger of allowing the HCU claimants to testify without stating the amounts invested for the public record.  It was my view that those concessions represented the ‘thin edge of the wedge’ in terms of the entire exercise being a Public Enquiry into a series of financial collapses.

In this recent, third session of evidence Hearings, we have had three examples of the ‘widening wedge’ in respect of financial information. Continue reading

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Big problems with CL Financial bailout, Colman Commission obstruction

CL Financial bailout – The Truth about the Truth

by Afra Raymond

Continuing from last week’s critique of the revised bailout and its implications, I have further concerns as to the process by which the legislation was passed.

I am aware that the Members of Parliament were given a briefing on this matter, so that they would be better informed on this complex matter.  That briefing was conducted personally by the Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank, together with their advisers and certain CLICO officials.

The briefing provided background information on these areas –

  • The status of the various outstanding audited accounts;
  • A ‘profile’ of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  I am told that quite a small number of these claimants held a large proportion of the monies being claimed;
  • The various lawsuits/judgments against the Central Bank;
  • The rationale given for extinguishing the right to sue the Central Bank in this matter was that public rights and stability were being given preference over the exercise of private rights.

I am also told that the Members of Parliament were not given copies of the presentations, which seems to have effectively limited them to gaining certain impressions or the limited notes they would have been able to take during the briefing.

That account of events, given to me by more than one Parliamentarian, seems to suggest that the very rationale of the exercise, said to be the elevation of public rights over private ones, could have been subverted.

The reality is that, despite the extensive debate on the matter, this is the position –

  • Accounts – There has still been no proper, clear statement on the status of these CL Financial and CLICO accounts, which is unsatisfactory.  An emerging view is that this is a calculated silence, since the companies are insolvent, which would make the Directors liable for the criminal offence of ‘trading while insolvent’.  That is a considerable issue, which could only be overcome by the State issuing a guarantee to the group’s creditors, which would have exposed the Treasury to the full extent of the huge claims.  The silence is a shabby ‘third way’, which gives a further insight into why the bailout remains untenable to so many of us.
  • There is no publicly-available profile of the monies owed in terms of amounts owed to certain classes of policyholders.  That is a major omission and one can only wonder why the information is being effectively suppressed.  In addition, there were statements that the claims of Credit Unions and Trade Unions will be fully-paid, which seems to be a favourable treatment in comparison to the individual claimants.
  • In respect of the lawsuits and judgments, I do not see how the block on lawsuits against the Central Bank can stop claims in foreign Courts.
  • The rationale of public rights being preferred over private rights is a solid one in a matter of this type, but upon reflection one is left with a different impression.  How can public rights be said to prevail in a situation where the public is denied the essential parts of the picture?

The Parliament benefits from briefings on complex and important matters, but it is unacceptable that those briefings should be somehow shrouded in secrecy.  The Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank need to publish their full Parliamentary briefing, without delay, to remove any lingering doubts.  Good governance, transparency and accountability demand no less.

Florida: Just one of the Duprey family mansions

Non-payment of taxes by top CL Financial executives Continue reading

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CL Financial Fraud: 31 months of government control and no accounts yet!

UPDATED: November 9, 2011 – 6pm

Afra Raymond testified today at 2pm before the Colman Commission into the CL Financial collapse. No word if the video or audio of his testimony will be made available.

CL Financial bailout – The Final Solution?

by Afra Raymond

The new bailout formula was approved, as two new Acts, by Trinidad and Tobago Parliament on 14th September, 2011…

The Central Bank (Amendment) Bill, 2011

The Purchase of Certain Rights and Validation Bill, 2011

The first one prevents any lawsuits against the Central Bank by claimants, while the second gives the Minister of Finance the right to borrow up to $10.7Bn and places the Republic Bank Ltd. (RBL) shares formerly held by CLICO into a new investment vehicle, NEL 2.

A perversion of our Treasury

These seem to represent what I am calling the Final Solution, in that the clamour and protest which had marked the last year seems to have been fading away.  There have been queries from the various ‘Policyholders’ groups’, but those have been limited.

Whatever one thinks of the actual bailout, which I maintain is a perversion of our Treasury, there are valuable lessons to be learned from all this.  The main lesson for me is the Power of the Few. 

In that although only about 16,000 investors were affected, they were able to mount a successful campaign to improve their position.  We need to note that lobbying and campaigning can be effective in gaining benefits for limited groups.  To all the weak-hearts who say nothing ever changes, please take note. Continue reading

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Victor Stewart on Sam Lord’s Castle and how CLICO pillaged our island

As part of the family that owned Sam Lord’s Castle before the Marriotts, and as a current landowner at Castle Close, I find the whole CLICO subject to be somewhat ridiculous.

Isn’t it obvious what is going on??? CLICO came into Barbados with the support of powerful people in government, and proceeded to pillage our fair Island.

One of the obvious and terrible casualties was my family home (and what our family had raised to equal status with then-nacent Sandy Lane in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a premier resort hotel) that was part of our national heritage. Apparently nobody cares about tradition any more, but Barbados has a long and honoured tradition of respecting the rule of law and more particularly English common law and equity principles of how to conduct business with the people in your community. All of this has been apparently lost in the fight for political power, but I will make a prediction that sooner or later the people of Barbados will rise up and demand an explanation for what has been done in their name.

I can only pray that the burned-out shell that used to be my family’s and this Island’s delight might one day be reconstituted, unlike the sad arson memorial that is Farley Hill. Only time will tell.

Victor E. Stewart
Castle Close, St. Philip

Further Reading

BFP: October 22, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle as an over-valued asset in the CLICO – CL Financial pyramid fraud

BFP: October 21, 2010 Sam Lord’s Castle burns to the ground thanks to Barbados DLP, BLP, CLICO, Leroy Parris

BFP: April 11, 2009: How CLICO Ruined A Barbados Heritage Site: Sam Lord’s Castle

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CLICO Indian Fraud: Should Leroy Parris and Lawrence Duprey go to jail for this alone?

Leroy Parris and good friend Government Minister Chris Sinckler share champagne

My friends, you should go to Trinidad and Tobago Newsday to read this article, AND PLEASE DO!

But just in case it disappears from the net as happens in the Caribbean, we’re going to reprint the entire article here. But please… go to Newsday first to read the whole thing, okay?

WARNING: If you’re a CLICO victim, you’re going to be mad as hell after the first paragraph!

‘Clico fronted $38M in Indian business’
By ANDRE BAGOO Monday, October 3 2011

CLICO fronted $38 million in Indian business carried out by a Miami-based broker without the approval of the Central Bank, according to documents disclosed to the Commission of Inquiry into Clico which paint a picture of an insurance company with a long history of breaking the law and hiding key aspects of its operations from its books.

The documents disclose that $29.4 million in interest payments on a secret $302.4 million Home Mortgage Bank loan to Clico for the Lascelles de Mercado transaction was dressed up as “an amount receivable” from parent company CL Financial. Additionally, the company had “significant off balance sheet exposures” to connected companies totalling $2 billion, according to Central Bank estimates. Continue reading

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Coleman Commission into CL Financial: Ministry of Finance, Central Bank want to exclude Afra Raymond’s testimony

“A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted.”

The Colman Commission – Balancing the Scale

by Afra Raymond

The Colman Commission into the failure of CLF Financial and the Hindu Credit Union is just about to move into its second round of Hearings and the public can expect to have further testimony on the losses suffered by people who deposited monies with CL Financial.

I have made several submissions to the Commission and have been invited to give evidence. 

I am reliably informed that there have been strong and unanimous objections to my participation in the Colman Commission.  It would seem that only the Commission itself is interested in having my testimony go onto the record.

It is not surprising to me that objections of that sort would be arising now, but readers need to have a context.

The Colman Commission was established to find out how this fiasco occurred, recommend methods to stop a recurrence and also to identify responsible people who are apt for lawsuits or criminal charges.  The main parties can be expected to give self-serving evidence, designed to exonerate themselves from any blame.

We can also expect to hear more attempts to put the blame onto Wall Street, despite the claims in the CL Financial 2007 Annual Report – this is from the preamble –

…“The Next Wave of Growth” is the theme of this annual report, highlighting, to quote our Chairman, “that out of any crisis opportunities will emerge and our progress during the year under review prepares us to seize those opportunities and unlock value.” We have confidence in our ability to not only navigate this financial storm but to find fresh and profitable opportunities within it…

That Annual Report was published on 23rd January 2009 – yes, that is 10 days after Duprey wrote to the Central Bank Governor for urgent financial assistance and one week before the bailout was signed on 30th January.

The Colman Commission is a Public Inquiry into a matter of major importance; it was approved by the Cabinet and installed by the President of the Republic.  A Commission of Enquiry can only make findings on the evidence submitted to it, so it would be very important for some people to have certain evidence omitted. Continue reading

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