British Virgin Islands

Keith King panned in Isle of Man judgment

A now defunct Isle of Man stockbroking company controlled by offshore businessman Keith King has lost a second civil lawsuit brought by a former client. Defendant City & International Securities was found to have illegally transferred GBP200,000 out of the account of The Mannin Foundation, of Liechtenstein, to fund a new stockbroking firm that collapsed within 12 months and was compulsorily wound up by the Isle of Man High Court.

Insider Talking: July 31, 2000

Robin Cotterell released on bail pending trial on money laundering charge, SG Hambros and Coutts settle Bahamas lawsuit, casino web-site's links to the Bahamas, where Internet gaming is prohibited; Canadian regulators issues warning about Cayman International Holdings, First International Bank of Grenada fraudsters open a new bank, investors in Versailles finance group apply to liquidate BVI firm Trading Partners, Harris Organization has Nov. 24 deadline to obtain investment manager's license in Panama, Imperial Consolidated Securities SA offers "High-Yield Investment Facility", Cayman Islands passes Electronic Transactions Bill and Computer Misuse Bill.

Major countries strike hard against offshore centers

The high stakes poker game between onshore and offshore governments lost six players recently but another 35 have 12 months to decide whether the OECD is bluffing with the threat of sanctions.Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius and San Marino have all signed an 'Advanced Letter of Commitment' agreeing to co-operate with international tax investigations.

Resumption of Isle of Man trial involving Keith King company

A civil trial in the Isle of Man involving a company controlled by Keith King, the founding boss of the First Nevisian group in Nevis, was due to resume on May 30.The trial, which was adjourned earlier in the year, concerns a claim for GBP200,000 (approximately US$300,000) made against King's firm City & International Securities by former clients Virginia Anne Callow and Dr. Herbert Batliner, as Trustees of The Mannin Foundation.

OECD backs off publishing an offshore ‘hit list’

The much-vaunted publication of a tax haven 'hit list' by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has been put off for at least a year. The OECD had planned to name those territories deemed to engage in "harmful tax practices" in June of this year, after which the 29 OECD member countries would seek to punish those on the list by introducing "defensive measures".

Insider Talking: April 30, 2000

The low-down on Imperial Consolidated's City UK Ltd., Antigua-based Accord Insurance goes to ground; and Mezzanine Capital's Eric Chess Bronk, complaints to SEC about clampdown on broker activities.

‘It all seems very strange’ – A look at the Imperial Consolidated Group in the UK

In the course of our inquiries into the Imperial Consolidated Group, which has regional offices in the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Grenada, Offshore Alert talked with a local journalist in Lincolnshire who visited ICG's offices at Brookenby about 12-18 months ago. His report, which appears below, confirmed that the group is one of the largest private employers in the area and has added to the mystique that surrounds ICG, which has become one of the highest profile offshore companies over the last few years.

UK pressures offshore centers to report suspicious tax transactions

Anyone who still has doubts that UK Overseas Territories such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands will be forced to co-operate with foreign tax investigations should read a paper published by the UK Treasury in February. Titled 'Exchange of Information and the Draft Directive on Taxation of Savings', it makes it clear that UK Overseas Territories are being pressured not only to co-operate with requests for information on tax matters but to take the initiative and report suspicious tax-related transactions.

Bear Stearns accused of preferential treatment over failed BVI fund

Bear Stearns has been accused of tipping off privileged clients so that they could cash out of the BVI-registered Manhattan Investment Fund before it collapsed in January with losses of about $450 million. It has also been claimed that the broker exceeded "generally accepted margin limitations" in extending credit to the fund, thus contributing to the size of its losses.

Harris Organization associate deported from Panama

A fugitive American businessman who has been helping The Harris Organization run investment schemes through IBCs set up in the Bahamas and the BVI was deported this month from Panama to the US. Within days of his deportation, Brent A. Wagman was criminally indicted in Texas on charges of masterminding a scheme that defrauded mainly elderly victims of approximately $30 million.

Bermuda tops Year 2000 Telecommunications Review

Telecommunications Review in Bermuda-Caribbean region: Bermuda continues to offer by far the cheapest overseas telecommunications rates compared with its rival offshore jurisdictions in the Caribbean, we can disclose. While rates have generally fallen in many islands since our last survey in April, 1997, the gap between Bermuda and the pack remains huge, largely due to the introduction of competition for international calls. 

More lawsuits following collapse of $500 million hedge fund

The barrage of litigation surrounding the collapse in January of BVI-registered Manhattan Investment Fund and the disappearance of nearly $500 million continued this month. Five lawsuits were filed at Bermuda Supreme Court during February to go along with the four that were filed at the same court the previous month and one in New York.

Harris Organization moves closer to collapse

There are increasing indications that The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama is edging closer to collapse. Several of the group's clients have contacted Offshore Alert recently to complain that their requests to redeem all or part of their investments have been ignored.

Lawsuits fly in Bermuda following collapse of $500 m hedge fund

Four lawsuits were filed at Bermuda Supreme Court in the last week of January following the collapse of the Manhattan Investment Fund Ltd., which was registered in the British Virgin Islands, managed in New York City and administered and audited in Bermuda.

Insider Talking: January 31, 2000

Liquidators of First Cayman Bank reach settlement with former Cayman government minister McKeeva Bush, First Nevisian's Keith Leslie King testifies at civil trial in the Isle of Man, Jordan Bionda denies he is a fraudster, conman Keem Kalfon promotes his Global Heritage Asset Protection 'fund', attorney Julian Hall is declared bankrupt in Bermuda, Bermuda's international business sector voices concern over Government plans to introduce tougher new work permit rules for foreign workers, offshore crook Marc Harris compares himself to Albert Einstein, Florida judge orders Harris Organization to pay costs after losing a libel action against OffshoreAlert's publisher.

BVI implements new anti-money laundering measures

The British Virgin Islands government has implemented two new measures designed to combat money laundering. They are the Anti-Money Laundering Code of Practice (made under section 27 of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act) and the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct (Designated Countries and Territories) Order 1999 (made under section 32 of the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Act 1997).

FIBG latest: Dodgy share offerings and more ‘paper’ firms list on sham stock exchange

The latest phase of what is turning out to be one of the most extravagant offshore frauds ever involves the sale of shares over the Internet, supposedly to finance a 120-room luxury resort hotel in Grenada and an on-line casino. Investors in the resort project are "guaranteed" annual dividends of between 25-30 per cent, depending on the amount invested, even before anything has been built, while shareholders of the casino venture are promised 35 per cent annually.

Harris Organization appeals libel decision

The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama has served official notice that it will appeal its loss of a recent libel lawsuit against Offshore Business News & Research Inc., which publishes Offshore Alert. The grounds for the appeal were not known at press time.

Libel trial judge asks: ‘Where is Marc Harris?’

The libel trial involving The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama and Offshore Business News & Research ended on July 30 with Judge Michael Moore asking: "Where is Marc Harris?" Harris was nowhere to be seen during six days of testimony even though he was the main subject matter of the March 31, 1998 Offshore Alert article that was being complained about.

Harris Organization/OBNR trial set to start on July 6, 1999

The civil libel trial between Offshore Business News & Research, Inc., which publishes this newsletter, and The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama will start at the United States District Court for the District of Southern Florida (in Miami) on July 6. After two postponements by the court because of scheduling problems, a definite date has now been set for the trial, which is scheduled to last for about one week.

Harris Organization-OBNR trial put back by court

The libel trial involving The Harris Organization financial services group of Panama and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc., which publishes this newsletter, has been put back to an unnamed date by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Insider Talking: May 31, 1999

Offshore promoter Adam Starchild's criminal past, Cayman politicians receive huge pay increases, clients of Marc Harris' Threshold Insurance Services claim to have been ripped off.

Details of allegations against Keith King in South Africa

Further information came OffshoreAlert's way recently about the nature of the allegations that led to the South African authorities issuing an arrest warrant against Keith Leslie King, the senior principal of First Nevisian, a Nevis-based stockbroking/corporate services group.We have obtained a document that originated from the Director of the Office for Serious Economic Offences in Pretoria dated May 15, 1996 that states: "This office is presently conducting an investigation into alleged fraudulent transactions in South African gilts (government and municipal stocks). The alleged falsification of stock certificates is an important element of the investigation.

Interclaim (Bermuda) freezes $200 m of assets controlled by callous white-collar criminals

Debt recovery firm Interclaim (Bermuda) Limited made international headlines recently after a series of daring legal manoeuvres in several countries against the type of heartless criminals who have become accustomed to getting away with their crimes.The company, which operates from Dublin, Ireland, has successfully frozen in the region of US$200 million of assets linked with Blair Down, a Canadian businessman who created his wealth by ripping off the elderly.

Poland: Alexei Bragontchuk

Application for the appointment of a Commissioner to collect evidence for a criminal investigation in Poland into Alexei Bragontchuk and for alleged fraud and money laundering regarding the proceeds of weapons trafficking.

Details of alleged fraud against Bahamas attorney Leslie Vernon Rolle

Bahamas attorney Leslie Vernon Rolle is facing a criminal investigation into an alleged attempt to swindle clients of UBS (Bahamas) Limited out of $2.2 million. Police have been asked to look into the matter following incriminating evidence that was unearthed during the execution of an Anton Piller order issued by the Bahamas Supreme Court last month as part of a civil action brought by UBS.

Marc Harris-OBNR lawsuit due to be tried in May

The Harris Organization's $30 million libel action against Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. and its principal, David Marchant, is scheduled to go to trial in May of this year at the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida (Miami).

Balmore Funds SA et al v. NCT Audio Products Inc. et al: Notice of Removal

Notice of Removal in Balmore Funds SA, if the British Virgin Islands, and Austost Anstalt Schaan, of Liechtenstein v. NCT Audio Products Inc. and NCT Group, Inc., formerly known as Noise Cancellation Technologies Inc., at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Marc Harris latest: Senior officers undergo lie detector tests

Information coming from Panama indicates that November has been yet another bad month for The Harris Organization. All the signs are that the offshore financial services group, which has been accused in this newsletter of running a Ponzi scheme and of massive insolvency, is about to go bust.

Insider Talking: September 30, 1998

Receivers of the Florida Employers Safety Association Self-Insurers Fund sue David Sanz, share price of Stirling Cooke falls to new low on NASDAQ, Elite International Services offers dubious offshore products, Marc Harris on the move, prison inmate Ronald Williams apparently continues to rip people off during his day-release program, Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham puts both feet in his mouth during press conference for murder of foreign national.

BVI government discusses its all-crimes legislation

The British Virgin Islands government has denied that its Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law is 'defective' by UK standards, even though it agrees that its legislation provides no assistance for foreign investigations into tax offences. Since the UK has already described the all-crimes laws of Bermuda and Cayman as defective for similar reasons, there would seem to be little doubt that the BVI's law is considered in a similar light by the UK, which has also been confirmed to us by an independent source.

Insider Talking: July 31, 1998

In house counsel Philip Lamarr has become the latest in a long line of officers and employees to quit The Harris Organization, of Panama in recent months. Larry Abraham and his son, Patrick, left in March, trader Alex de Janon

Insider Talking: June 30, 1998

Offshore regulators apparently uninterested in scams exposed by OffshoreAlert; NimsTec's 3-D cameras offered for sale as "collector's items" over the Internet; Marc Harris has t-shirt with the slogan: "David Marchant is alive because killing him would be a crime"; As General Election looms, Progressive Labour Party tipped to win power in Bermuda for the first time; Dominion of Melchizedek offers a variety of fraudulent products and services; and Little Switzerland contemplates legal action after proposed purchase of Colombian Emeralds International falls through.

Offshore Territories must enforce ‘all-crimes’ laws, not just pass them into law

Offshore financial centres that are also UK Overseas Territories have been told that it is not enough for them simply to introduce legislation outlawing ‘all-crimes' but that they must also enforce the new laws.That was one of the messages delivered to the House of Commons Select Committee on Public Accounts by Sir John Kerr, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the UK government.

FCO letter presents gloomy picture for offshore finance centres

Further details obtained by Offshore Alert about the UK government's new proposals for regulations in its Overseas Territories confirm that what is being planned represents an offshore financial centre's worst nightmare. And there is growing evidence that independent offshore centres like the Bahamas and Antigua are also facing international pressure to conform to new standards.

Marc Harris says: ‘We’re cleaner than clean.’

David Marchant, the publisher of Offshore Alert, flew to the Bahamas on Wednesday, March 25 to meet with Marc Harris at the Radisson Grand Hotel in Cable Beach, near Nassau. Also present at the meeting were Larry Gandolfi, who is a salesman; Christopher Davy, head of computers; and Alan McAloon, head of trust services.

The Harris Organization’s multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme

Offshore Alert can today disclose that Panama's most-hyped financial services group, known as The Harris Organization, is being run as a massive Ponzi scheme in which clients are being defrauded out of millions of dollars. The situation is so serious that The Harris Organization, which employs 150 people in Panama, is hopelessly insolvent, with net liabilities of at least $25 million, according to sources knowledgeable of the group's financial affairs.

FCO announces end of bank secrecy in overseas territories

The clearest indication yet that the UK government will force its Overseas Territories to co-operate with foreign regulators investigating both fiscal and regulatory offences was given this week to Offshore Alert.Offshore centres like Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the Turks & Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands are being told by the UK government to introduce within two years legislation that will be virtually identical to the UK Criminal Justice (International Co-operation) Act 1990.