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TCI regulator: Harris Organization investment trust not registered here

December 31, 2000 - Offshore Alert has uncovered another dubious investment fund being promoted by The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama. The objective of the Washington Pacific Investment Fund is "to achieve a rate of return of 100% per annum" by investing in "mortgage backed securities and liens", according to a prospectus.

Leslie Wingham asks victims for more money, tells them to stop calling his attorney

December 31, 2000 - British businessman Leslie Wingham has asked victims of an alleged multi-million fraud that he operated in Antigua for additional money to fund a so-called recovery effort. In a letter to "Investors and Agents of Accord Trading/Accord Insurance and EMRW" dated November 27, 2000, Wingham asked for at least $1,000 each from his victims.

Anguilla promotes Lanston Connor to Registrar of Commercial Activities

December 31, 2000 - Lanston Connor, 27, has been promoted to the position of Registrar of Commercial Activities at the Government of Anguilla's Financial Services Department with immediate effect. He succeeds Alan Jones who is returning to the United Kingdom after a three-year secondment from Companies House.

Robin Cotterell: 'US investigators wanted me to give up my clients'

December 31, 2000 - Nevis-based offshore provider Robin Cotterell claims that US investigators asked him to disclose confidential information on his firm's clients in return for leniency on money laundering charges. Details of a failed attempt to persuade Cotterell to break Nevis' confidentiality laws are contained in a statement issued on his behalf following his acquittal on November 28, 2000.

First share price falls below $1, jeopardizes NASDAQ listing

December 31, 2000 - Electronic credit card processing firm First, whose plight was highlighted in the previous edition of Offshore Alert, officially became a penny stock during December. On December 27, 2000, the company's share price fell to just 59 cents on the full NASDAQ system, compared with a high of $34 on the over-the-counter market just ten months earlier.

David Voth Client alleges $50,000 loss, links to unlicensed Bahamas fund

December 31, 2000 - A Canadian businessman who offers unlicensed investment products and services through Bahamas-registered IBCs is under fire from a client who lost $50,000 in suspicious circumstances. David M. Voth's group received funds from Bahamas-registered Geebung Corporation in December, 1998 for investment in a scheme that offered a 25 per cent return per quarter for 12 months.

BVI-domiciled Kading Companies SA agrees to SEC Cease and Desist Order

December 31, 2000 - A British Virgin Islands-domiciled company and its President have agreed to a Cease and Desist Order and a civil penalty following an administrative proceeding brought by the SEC. Kading Companies S.A. and Kevin H. Kading, 42, were among four Respondents accused of acting as broker-dealers in the United States without being registered by the SEC. The other Respondents were Utah-registered Joning Corp. (f.k.a. Global Stock Exchange Corp.), which was 55 per cent-owned by Kading Corp; and John O. Jones Jr., 54, Joning's President.

Bank of Bermuda to seek NASDAQ listing following exemption from local ownership law

December 31, 2000 - The Bank of Bermuda will seek a listing of its shares on NASDAQ after the Bermuda government announced on December 8, 2000 that the bank had been exempted from a law that restricts foreign ownership of local companies to 40 per cent.

British Trade & Commerce Bank's claim of frozen assets not true, says adversary

December 31, 2000 - A claim by Dominica-based British Trade & Commerce Bank that its liquidity problem is substantially due to having its assets frozen by a Canadian court is in dispute. The Plaintiffs in the only known lawsuit against BTCB in Canada told Offshore Alert that no assets have been frozen as a result of the action, which contradicts BTCB's public stance.

Everest Re buys secretive Bermuda reinsurer AFC Re

December 31, 2000 - One of the most secretive commercial reinsurers in Bermuda has been sold after three years in business, about two-thirds of which it appears to have been up for sale. AFC Re, which was capitalized at $100 million when it formed in October, 1997, was bought for $17 million in cash by Everest Re (Bermuda) in a deal that was announced on December 22, 2000.

We hunt for red flags in high-value, cross-border finance by monitoring offshore and onshore courts, regulatory actions, offering documents, and other sources - and email you the results.

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Cayman Court Secrecy: A Huge Red Flag for Foreign Investors & Clients
David Marchant
As any fule kno, the biggest enemy of fraud, corruption, money laundering, and other forms of financial crime is transparency, while their best friend is secrecy. That's why the unprecedented mass sealing of cases that's taking place at the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands is repugnant to anyone with a genuine concern for financial crime.