Tag Archives: Offshore Banking

OECD: Barbados fails tax transparency standards

Review part of crackdown on money laundering & tax havens

Measures on tax transparency in Barbados still do not meet international standards, according to The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, hosted by the The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

“In studies of 10 countries released on Thursday, it found that Barbados, the Seychelles, San Marino and Trinidad and Tobago did not have legislation in place to fully share information on tax matters with international partners.”

Reuters Africa story: Barbados, San Marino, others still not tax transparent

Further Reading

OECD Global Forum on Transparency

January 27, 2011 Information Brief (PDF)

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Corruption, Freedom Of Information, Offshore Investments

Wikileaks to soon put Caribbean Money Laundering Laws to the test

Cayman bank account info to go on WikiLeaks as CARICOM announces Anti-Money Laundering Deal

“Stopping money laundering in Barbados would be like cutting our own throats.”

Two money laundering news items arrived in our in-basket today from different sources, and when we put them together we thought, “Hey, synchronicity!” See? I was awake in school at least on one day. (Actually, I was awake most days because I didn’t want to get a stick across the knuckles from Mr. W.)

Thanks to one of our old friends in Manitoba Canada (brrrrrr!!!!! Youbee, come on home for February!) we know that Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer is going to hand over bank data to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on 2000 people who have money parked offshore in the Caymans.

Barbadian Politicians on the list? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, CARICOM, Corruption, Crime & Law, Economy, Offshore Investments

Sir Allen Stanford says “Just call me Al”

Caribbean Knighthoods: Easy come, easy go!

Until we came across the story at Trivester.com, somehow we missed reports in the oldstream news media that the Antigua & Barbuda government finally yanked Sir Allen Stanford’s bought-and-paid-for Knighthood. You know how it works: Stanford gave money to the politicians and they gave him the “Sir” title until their association with Stanford became a little too hot to handle.

Sir Allen, er, “Al” is in a spot of trouble over running his banks and businesses like a big Ponzi scheme – which was all fine and good for a little while but like any Ponzi scheme had to collapse eventually. But what parties he had while it was in the growth cycle!

Much like the executives involved in the CL Financial – CLICO ponzi schemes where 76 billion dollars or thereabouts disappeared overnight. What parties they had, what jets, cars, women and mansions! Oh well – not so bad for Leroy Parris who was awarded a golden Caribbean Broadcasting parachute by his old buddy and lawyer, Prime Minister David Thompson.

Anyway, back to SIR Allen, um, “Al”…

“Al” will be going on a little vacation for a few years. Hopefully before his banks collapsed “Al” remembered to pay off all the drug dealers he was money-laundering for because the cocaine cartels lack a sense of humour in certain matters. Nope, I wouldn’t want to be “Sir Al” in any jail in the world if I lost drug money.

So ends the party for SIR Allen – a guy who purchased his title just a surely as he bought suits and ties. Of course, for Al to make the purchase, there had to be a seller – and there are no shortages of Knighthood sellers ’bout hey.

Oh yes, how we little Caribbean islands love to hand out Knighthoods like candy to friends and political supporters – half the time while ignoring or disparaging the British Monarchy upon whose credibility the whole thing rests.

Visit our friends over at Trivester.com for all the details about “Al” and his little problem: Sir Allen Stanford’s Knighthood Revoked

We’ve also added Trivester.com to our sidebar links and we’d appreciate some feedback on this from our readers. Thanks!

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Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

United States IRS to expand Barbados office and others. Looking out for American tax cheats

Welcome to the new world where Barbados is forced to allow increased numbers of American IRS tax investigators to work and investigate freely on our island.

Just because the US says so.

Our government can’t say “no” because you know what would happen.

Well, that’s what President Obama promised he would do if elected, and he’s done it. Hmmmmm… at least there’s one politician who keeps election promises!

Too bad it isn’t our Prime Minister.

IRS to Add Staff to Barbados Office

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Oct. 15, 2009: As the Internal Revenue Service steps up its focus on tax cheats in overseas countries, the agency yesterday said it will boost staff in its Barbados office.

As part of its efforts to step up monitoring of Americans with off-shore accounts who avoid paying their taxes, the IRS said it intends to hire more than 800 new employees in the next year and add staff to eight existing overseas offices, including Barbados.

Meanwhile, with the deadline looming today for Americans with overseas accounts to reveal them to the IRS, Commissioner Douglas Shulman on Wednesday said over 7,500 Americans have come forward so far, revealing accounts ranging in value from $10,000 to more than $100 million in the Caribbean and several other regions including Antartica.

… read the full article at CaribWorldNews.com

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Offshore Investments, Politics

Barbados Supervisor Of Insurance Announces $2,500 Voluntary Fine For Infractions… That Should Stop Multi-Million Dollar Insurance Frauds Like CLICO!

Prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, (Barbados Supervisor of Insurance) Carlos Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds”  … from OffshoreAlert’s 2006 “Worst Regulator” Award

Prior to being appointed to his regulatory position, (Barbados Supervisor of Insurance) Carlos Belgrave was the General Manager of a local company that manufactures “flour, animal and poultry feeds” … from OffshoreAlert’s 2006 “Worst Regulator” Award

Carlos Belgrave, Former Chicken Feed Manager, Sets The Standard For Barbados Insurance Industry

The recent collapse of the CLICO insurance company exposed the fact that successive Barbados governments have allowed insurance companies and offshore corporations to pretty much do as they please so long as those political campaign donations, kickbacks and business jet rides keep rolling in.

But now that the world’s attention has come to focus upon our failings, Barbados decided to make some noises so investors and other governments will believe we’ve taken effective measures to supervise our offshore insurance industry. The key here is that we haven’t taken any new steps… we just make noises and promises so others will be taken in and believe that things have changed in Barbados.

The sham press conference by Barbados Supervisor of Insurance was all about repairing investor confidence after the CLICO debacle – not about real change to protect investors & policy holders

To kick things off, our Supervisor of Insurance held a press conference (Nation News article) announcing that the General Insurance Association of Barbados (GIAB) members have agreed to some voluntary standards that may be enforced by a $2,500 fine. It is hoped that maybe, sometime in the future, these voluntary standards might possibly become law in Barbados. Maybe. If. Sometime.

Judging by the accounts in the local news rags, the revelations at the press conference were shocking – but true to form the Barbados media spun an outrageous admission of incompetence, guilt and amateurism into a positive story. In truth, the Barbados Supervisor of Insurance admitted that Barbados lacks effective standards in law respecting the financial health, financial management and financial strength of insurance companies. (Barbados Advocate coverage of press conference here)

CLICO investors and policy holders probably thought we had such standards as laws – but they thought wrong.

But hey, we’re going to put those laws in place. Someday, maybe, if… but for now the Barbados insurance companies promise to volunteer to maintain those standards or risk having to pay (again voluntarily) a whopping BDS$2,500 (US$1,250) fine. Wow! That should prevent another CLICO-type collapse, don’t you think?

Our lack of rules, laws or effective oversight is what allowed a healthy insurance company like CLICO Barbados to “invest” in huge loans to parent company CL Financial and other Clico companies – loans that were secured by way-overvalued swampland in Florida. Loans secured by deals where executives of CLICO-associated companies took secret commissions and kickbacks for engineering the over-payment for swampland!

See our articles about the CLICO fraud…

CL Financial, CLICO Fraud Report: Dummy Company, Phantom “Consultancy” Payments, Vanishing Money Transfers From Company To Company

EXCLUSIVE REPORT BY BARBADOS FREE PRESS: CL Financial Group Collapse – Insiders Took Bribes To Have Company Purchase Land For More Than Market Value!

A US$3 Million Florida Mansion Belonging To CL Financial Director - Thanks For The Bailout, Prime Minister Thompson!

One of many: A US$3 Million Florida mansion belonging to CL Financial Director - Thanks for the bailout, Prime Minister Thompson!

Meanwhile, the Directors of CL Financial were purchasing millions of dollars of prime, upscale Florida waterfront mansions for their own enjoyment and profit.

That is the legacy of two successive Barbados governments and our Supervisor of Insurance, Carlos Belgrave.

Now Belgrave says he wants to make a law requiring minimum capital standards for insurance companies. Hopefully Belgrave no longer accepts “bearer peat certificates” as security for capital! Such standards saw Belgrave named in 2006 as the “worst regulator” by Offshore Alert.

The CLICO Chicken Came Home To Roost

A Chicken Named CLICO

A Chicken Named CLICO

In the case of CLICO, the Barbados insurance company was allowed to operate for years without sufficient cash reserves – and no one thought it dangerous when a otherwise healthy CLICO loaned all kinds of money to its parent company to purchase swampland in Florida at a price that greatly exceeded the real value of the land!

Not to be outdone by the previous BLP Government for looking after friends and concealing the truth from the public, current Prime Minister David Thompson has pledged millions of your tax dollars to assist collapsed CLICO. Oh… did you know that the Prime Minister and CLICO CEO Leroy Parris are godfathers to each other’s child? Did you know that CLICO contributed to the DLP election campaign and that David Thompson borrowed CLICO’s business jet?

All a coincidence I’m sure as the Prime Minister works diligently to socialize Clico’s losses with our tax dollars.

You know the drill for the Prime Minister’s friends: Profits are private, but losses are paid for with your public tax dollars!

Barbados Supervisor Of Insurance Carlos Belgrave Approved US$ Half A Billion Insurance Assets That Were “Bearer Peat Certificates” !

Instead of pulling Reliant’s license and despite there being no change of control or management, Belgrave allowed Reliant to continue in business by approving replacement capital with a face value of $518 million that consisted of nothing more substantial than a loan note issued by a newly-formed Panama firm that was secured by “bearer peat certificates representing the right to obtain peat, a pre-coal state organic material used as energy or for horticultural use, from the Changuinola Peat Deposit of Northwestern Panama”…

… quoted from Offshore Alert in the BFP Article: Carlos Belgrave, Supervisor of Insurance and Pensions in Barbados, Called “Worst Regulator” By OffshoreAlert

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Corruption, Ethics, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

New York Times Editorial Reflects Growing US Assault On Offshore Banking – What Should Barbados Do?

The Swiss and Their Secrets

A New York Times editorial is calling upon the United States government to reject any deal with Switzerland that would let 52,000 American citizens off the hook for having unreported Swiss bank accounts. This “get tough” attitude is reflected in many American media articles and mirrors the long-standing position of President Obama — who sponsored anti-offshore banking legislation long before he became president.

Barbados government officials have always talked a good game when it comes to transparency, accountability and monitoring of Barbados offshore corporations and international banks, but increasingly the United States is calling upon foreign governments like Barbados to open their records for US inspection — which of course destroys much of the attraction of offshore financial centers.

As economies come under increasing pressure there will be more calls to rein in offshore financial centers from real or imagined misdeeds as the developed nations fight to retain their tax base.

What Can Barbados Do To Avoid The Wrath Of Developed Countries?

As we have pointed out from the day we published our first article over three years ago, Barbados does not have any integrity legislation, transparency laws or conflicts of interest regulations. Barbados corporations are routinely allowed to violate existing laws regarding records keeping and public accountability, and the government itself is one of the worst violators of corporate reporting laws for companies in which it has an interest.

All of this sends the wrong signals to the United States, Canada and other countries that have expressed concern over our offshore financial and corporate industries. It is a shame that the DLP and David Thompson lied about their promise to implement ITAL – Integrity, Transparency and Accountability Legislation.

As Switzerland is discovering, chickens do come home to roost when it is most inconvenient.

Further Reading

NYT: The Swiss and Their Secrets


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Filed under Barack Obama, Barbados, Business & Banking, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Offshore Investments, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption