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.
If offshore practitioners in UK Overseas Territories are looking for an indication as to what they can expect in the forthcoming Government white paper on their review, they could do a lot worse than study the recently published report by
While scouring the US National Association of Securities Dealers' web-site recently, Offshore Alert came across two disciplinary actions that were taken last year against firms either registered or operated from Bermuda.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
Amended Libel Complaint in Marc M. Harris et Cie S.A., The Firm of Marc M. Harris, Inc., and Marc M. Harris Trust Company, Ltd. v. David E. Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
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.
Offshore Alert's exposé on The Harris Organization last month has caused quite a stir, with journalists from several international media organizations showing an interest in following up the story.
Libel Complaint in Marc M. Harris et Cie S.A., The Firm of Marc M. Harris, Inc., and Marc M. Harris Trust Company, Ltd. v. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
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.
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.
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.
UK Dependent Territories that are also offshore financial centres have until 1999 to comply with a "check-list" of four key areas of financial regulations to improve standards, UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook announced in London today.
The British Virgin Islands has announced that its inaugural Due Diligence and Compliance conference entitled ‘Preserving the Integrity of International Business' will be held on March 9-11.The conference, which is being sponsored by the BVI government in conjunction with the financial services sector, is designed to provide industry participants with in-depth information on recent developments in the cross-border fight against ‘white-collar' crime.
The Caribbean Hotel Association Insurance Company Ltd., which hit financial trouble soon after it started, has stopped writing new business after just two and a half years in business. The news comes after many member countries of the Caribbean Hotel Association, for whom the company was specifically set up to insure, failed to put their money where their mouths were and buy insurance from CHAIC.
Twelve months after a similar law was introduced in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, which is home to more than 200,000 foreign companies, became the second Caribbean Dependent Territory to pass wide-ranging anti-money laundering legislation at the behest of the UK government. Bermuda is expected to be next, possibly before the end of the year.
UK GAO report outlines drive to force offshore regulators to co-operate more with foreign authorities
A wide-ranging report into the Dependent Territories by the UK National Audit Office has outlined a further drive by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to force financial regulators in offshore jurisdictions to co-operate more with foreign authorities.
Statistical comparison of Caribbean-based offshore financial centers. Figures supplied by Foreign & Commonwealth Office/National Audit Office.
Companies associated with John W. Henry, a futures fund manager with $1.9 billion under management, according to its own figures, is suing its former business partner, the Bank of Bermuda, for $300,000 at Bermuda Supreme Court.