Grenada PM lashes out after publication of bribery article

Last month's article in OffshoreAlert about an allegation that Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell accepted a $500,000 bribe from German fraudster Eric Resteiner has caused uproar on the island. As news of the story began to circulate in the country,

FIBG fugitives arrested after shoot-out in Uganda

Two men who allegedly masterminded a $206 million offshore fraud and then fled to Uganda are back in the United States following a shoot-out that left a bodyguard dead.Former First International Bank of Grenada principals Van Arthur Brink, a.k.a. Gilbert Allen Ziegler, 53, and Douglas C. Ferguson, 71, were arrested by police at their residential complex in Kampala, Uganda on May 28.

Second ex-Grenada diplomat indicted in the United States

United States national Eric Resteiner has become the second former diplomat of scandal plagued Grenada in six months to be criminally indicted in the United States.Resteiner, once a General Ambassador for the Caribbean island, was indicted on 33 counts of

Grenada Prime Minister denies bribery allegation

Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell has denied accepting $500,000 for appointing a United States fraudster to a diplomatic position.An allegation that Mitchell received a cash pay-off at Eric E. Resteiner's home in Switzerland in 2000 has been made by Resteiner's former Director of Security, Timothy Lee Bass, a U. S. national now residing in Illinois.

Offshore fraudster Serdar Kalaycioglu jailed for 27 years

Former Canadian Space Agency engineer Serdar Kalaycioglu has been sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in an offshore banking fraud. The sentence was delivered on April 26, 2004 by Judge Daniel Hurley at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach and is one of the longest ever handed down for an offshore-related scam.

Insider Talking: February 29, 2004

The U. S. Government is seeking to seize the alleged proceeds of narcotics trafficking that are held in accounts at Barclays Bank, in London, England in the name of British Virgin Islands-registered Auxerre Corporation; St. Kitts and Nevis-based Crowne Gold Inc., which is secretly controlled by offshore provider Terry Neal, has been slammed by an Ontario, Canada-based client for allegedly not assisting in the recovery of nearly US$6,000 that the client claims was defrauded from his account by a third-party; U. S.-based Spherion Corporation, which specializes in staffing, recruiting and workforce management, filed a civil complaint against the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism at federal court in the USA on January 29, 2004. Three former insiders of a now-defunct, Grenada-licensed offshore bank have each received non-custodial sentences for their participation in an investment fraud; Meanwhile, two other former insiders with another Grenada-licensed offshore bank, Robert John Skirving and Paul James Peiffer, both of Oregon, have suffered setbacks in their attempts to have their debts wiped out via bankruptcy; Investors who lost millions of dollars in the failed Bahamas-registered Oracle Fund have reached a settlement with the Fund's administrator, reported the Bahama Journal on January 23, 2004; The number of foreign-owned legal entities registered in Bermuda fell by 2.5 per cent from 13,870 to 13,528 during 2003, according to figures recently released by the Registrar of Companies; For a company that claims to manage so much money - more than $2.5 billion - Bermuda-based Orbis Investment Management Ltd. has surprisingly little transparency; A company in which St. Vincent and the Grenadines-licensed offshore bank Omnicorp Bank invested was named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the SEC at the U. S. District Court for the District of Utah on February 23, 2004; and A participant in an offshore-oriented scam perpetrated by an organization doing business as the Global Prosperity Group or the Institute of Global Prosperity has pleaded guilty to tax evasion in the United States.

Insider Talking: January 31, 2004

Lines Overseas Management has filed a lawsuit against the Bermuda Monetary Authority in an attempt to prevent the SEC in the United States from receiving information about LOM's clients; Two alleged participants in a massive investment fraud involving Evergreen Security, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands and managed in Florida, are to be re-tried after their trial for grand larceny in the first degree ended in a hung jury; How much does failed offshore hedge fund boss and accused $600 million fraudster Michael Lauer hate Christopher Byron, the New York Post columnist who exposed his activities at the Lancer Offshore Group?; Imperial Consolidated administrator Mazars Neville Russell has reported receipts of $6.48 million and payments of $4.57 million in the five months from June 10, 2003 to December 9, 2003 for the group's principal UK company, Imperial Consolidated Financiers Ltd.; On January 19, 2004 at the British Virgin Islands High Court, Allen Wheatley, former Financial Secretary of the BVI Government, and three accomplices pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges concerning the misappropriation of funds for telecommunications projects at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport; Canadian television firm CBC broadcast a fascinating documentary on convicted money launderer Martin Chambers on January 13, 2004, including hidden camera footage of the undercover sting operation that led to his arrest in the 'Bermuda Short' operation conducted by the FBI and RCMP a few years ago; A liquidator of First Cayman Bank, of the Cayman Islands, announced in December 2003 that he had paid out a third interim dividend of 15 cents in the dollar on November 21, 2003 to all admitted creditors in a distribution of approximately US$4.4 million; Eduardo Masferrer, former Chairman and CEO of the now-closed Hamilton Bank N.A., of Miami, Florida, has agreed to pay $960,000 in restitution for the benefit of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and $40,000 in penalties and stay out of banking for an indefinite period; Grenada-domiciled IBC Joie de Vie Ventures Inc. closed for business after taking in millions of dollars from the public by offering returns of up to 100 per cent per year; U.K. attorney Christopher Stenning's Regalia Offshore Fund Ltd., which has an affiliate in the British Virgin Islands called The Regalia Fund Ltd., did not last long; A Canadian regulatory agency has issued a warning against a sham bank doing business as "Bermuda Credit Re-Insurance Bank Ltd."; The California Division of Corporations might want to look a little more closely at Gamboa Properties Inc. before renewing its status as an 'Active' company in the state; and Two Cayman Islands law firms announced they were merging with firms in other jurisdictions during January.

Jury finds former Canadian Space Agency engineer guilty of fraud involving offshore bank

Former Canadian Space Agency engineer Serdar Kalaycioglu has been found guilty of fraud involving an offshore bank and a bogus mutual fund following a jury trial in the United States that spanned seven weeks. After 21 days of hearing testimony and four days of deliberations, the jury found 40-year-old Kalaycioglu guilty of 11 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Five ex-FIBG insiders indicted in Oregon, four arrested

Five insiders with the First International Bank of Grenada have been criminally indicted in the United States for allegedly perpetrating a scam that cost investors more than $206 million. Gilbert Allen Ziegler, a.k.a. Van Arthur Brink, a U. S. national formerly of Oregon and Hawaii, now living in Uganda; Douglas C. Ferguson, a U. S. national formerly of Oregon; Laurent E. Barnabe, a.k.a. Larry Barnabe, a Canadian national residing in Las Vegas, Nevada; Rita L. Regale, a.k.a. Rita L. Brunges, a U. S. national formerly of Hawaii; and Robert J. Skirving, a U. S. national residing in Oregon, collectively face 146 counts at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

USA v. Gilbert A. Ziegler et al: Second Superseding Indictment

Second Superseding Indictment in USA vs. Gilbert Allen Ziegler, a.k.a. Van Arthur Brink; Rita Regale, a.k.a. Rita Brunges; Douglas Ferguson, Robert Skirving and Laurent Barnabe, a.k.a. Larry Barnabe, at the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

Three offshore bankers admit fraud conspiracy

Three ex-offshore bankers who were criminally indicted in 'Operation Bermuda Short' in 2002 have each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.They are Sheldon Mickelson, 44, a former plumber of West Palm Beach, Florida; Mario Turcotte, 49, of Canada; and Richard Carson, of Westmount, Quebec, Canada, who helped to operate Meridian Investment Bank Ltd., a now-defunct bank once licensed in the crime-ridden Caribbean island of Grenada.

Viktor Kozeny indicted in New York

Bahamas resident Viktor Kozeny has been criminally indicted in Manhattan on charges that he stole $182 million from clients of a New York investment firm.He has been indicted on 15 counts of Grand Larceny in the First Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree.

Imperial Consolidated’s assets frozen by US Bankruptcy Court

A U. S. Bankruptcy Court in New York has issued a preliminary injunction freezing the assets of the Imperial Consolidated Group in the United States. The injunction, issued in September, 2003, also prohibits "all persons and parties in interest" from

Former FIBG director DuSean Berkich ‘commits suicide’, says attorney

A former director of the fraudulently operated First International Bank of Grenada has apparently committed suicide while awaiting sentence for another banking fraud, according to his attorney.DuSean Berkich apparently killed himself on August 10, 2003 - less than two months

Imperial Consolidated creditors can expect 11 cents in dollar

Unsecured creditors of one of the main companies within the Imperial Consolidated Group have been told to expect a dividend of approximately 11 cents in the dollar. That is the "estimated outcome" for parties owed money by Imperial Consolidated Financiers Ltd. as forecast by the firm's administrators, Philip Lyon and Steve Woods, of Mazars Neville Russell.

Insider Talking: August 31, 2003

Fund manager Brian Paul Kuhn pleads guilty at the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands to several counts of theft of client funds; Switzerland investigates theft of financial data by computer hackers; HedgeWorld Limited closes Bermuda office and relocates its staff to New York; "Marc Harris stole your funds", investment fraudster tells clients; Bermuda-based Bank of Butterfield and Bank of Bermuda expand overseas; and career conman David Tedder is sentenced to five years in prison, fined $1.06 million and ordered to forfeit $2.7 million at federal court in the USA.

Insider Talking: July 31, 2003

Police in Bermuda have carried out raids on several offices on the island, including those of law firm Appleby Spurling and Kempe, looking for documents as part of a criminal investigation, reported The Royal Gazette newspaper on July 22, 2003; A Canadian Alliance MP wants Canada to investigate the possibility of annexing the idyllic Turks and Caicos Islands, reported the National Post, of Canada, on July 15, 2003; A court in Zurich, Switzerland, has sentenced Greek businessman Panagiotis A. Papadakis to 23 months and 16 days in prison for fraud, according to a newsletter published by the International Chamber of Commerce's Commercial Crimes Bureau; Former janitor John Wayne Zidar, 60, who orchestrated a Ponzi scheme that took in approximately $74 million from about 3,200 people in the United States and elsewhere, including Bermuda, was sentenced to 30 years in prison on July 28, 2003 at the U. S. District Court for the District of Western Washington; Mazars Neville Russell, the administrators of the Imperial Consolidated Group, have recovered relatively few assets for distribution to its clients and creditors, if a recent filing with Companies House for England & Wales is anything to go by; Just 15 months after they were formed, voluntary applications have been made to strike off two companies that were set up by former senior officers of the Imperial Consolidated Group to carry on in business as IC was collapsing after defrauding investors of $345 million; and A publicly-traded firm in the United States has written off its entire $1 million investment with Omnicorp Bank, which was closed down by regulators in St. Vincent last year but only after the bank's depositors were asked to convert their CDs to preferred shares in a highly dubious U. S.-registered, Canadian-based firm called Solara Ventures.

Grenada’s offshore banking industry plumbs new depths

Petitions to wind-up five offshore banks were presented at Grenada High Court on July 24, 2003.The banks were Bank Crozier Ltd., DIAK Bank Ltd., Anglo American Bank Ltd., Wellington Bank & Trust Ltd., and Cornerstone International Saving & Investment Bank Ltd.

Winding-Up petitions filed against five offshore banks

Petitions to wind-up five offshore banks are due to be heard at Grenada High Court on Thursday, July 24, 2003.The banks are Bank Crozier Ltd., DIAK Bank Ltd., Anglo American Bank Ltd., Wellington Bank & Trust Ltd., and Cornerstone International Saving & Investment Bank Ltd.

Grenada offshore banker receives prison sentence

A U. S.-based businessman has been sentenced to 34 months in prison for defrauding $1.2 million from clients of his offshore shell bank.Douglas Castle, a principal of Grenada-licensed Windsor International Bank & Trust, was also ordered to pay $1.2 million when he was sentenced on June 25, 2003 at the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Bank Crozier boss arrested and released without charge in Spain

Peter Johansson, head of the Bank Crozier group, which has offshore bank licenses in Grenada and St. Lucia, was arrested and released in Spain in June after a complaint was made to local police by clients unable to redeem their funds.Johansson told OffshoreAlert he was arrested at Barcelona airport on Friday, June 20 and released on Sunday, June 22 after two nights in custody. His passport was initially confiscated but soon returned, said Johansson.

Bank Crozier boss arrested and released in Spain

Peter Johansson, head of the Bank Crozier group, which has offshore bank licenses in Grenada and St. Lucia, has been arrested and released in Spain after a complaint was made to local police by clients unable to redeem their funds.

Insider Talking: May 31, 2003

In a libel action at Grenada High Court, Grenada attorney Anselm B. Clouden has been awarded $2,500 in damages and $450 in costs against the First International Bank of Grenada and its one time CEO, Van A. Brink. The award

Grenada ignores recommendation to close down ‘unlicensed’ bank

A local bank in Grenada whose core business is providing services to the island's offshore sector does not even have a valid license, according to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank. But Capital Bank International is still operational because an ECCB recommendation to close it down has been ignored by Grenada's Minister of Finance, Anthony Boatswain.

Bank Crozier proposes reconstruction plan in Grenada

Grenada's oldest offshore bank, Bank Crozier Ltd., will this week submit a reconstruction plan to the local regulator in an attempt to stave off liquidation.Peter Johansson, the bank's CEO, told OffshoreAlert that $2.6 million of new capital has been pledged

Imperial Consolidated founder ordered to turn over bank records

A U.K. High Court judge today ordered bankrupt British businessman Lincoln Julian Fraser to turn over his bank records to the administrator of his failed Imperial Consolidated Group, which went bust in June, 2002 with liabilities of approximately $345 million.He

Imperial Consolidated founders declared bankrupt

Lincoln Julian Fraser and Jared Bentley Brook, co-founders of the Imperial Consolidated Group, were both declared bankrupt at Grimsby County Court, England on May 2, 2003. It is the second bankruptcy in just over seven years for Fraser at the age of just 31-years-old.

Insider Talking: April 30, 2003

Nevis Premier Vance Amory seeks independence yet again, Panama ignores multi-million dollar frauds against foreigners but leaps into action when foreigners defraud locals of a relative pittance, U. S. helps BVI authorities obtain evidence against Canadian national Terry Turl, judgment for $2.7 million entered against David Rose, criminal proceedings in Texas against Yank Barry take another extraordinary twist, Towry Law seeks to recover £30 million defrauded from clients, Grenada intends to revoke license of Bank Crozier, Patrick English ordered to testify at trial of civil action involving the Bank of Bermuda, criminal action stated against Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine branch of Parex Bank, Cayman prosecutors drop money laundering charges against Melvin Taves because of his age, and Banca del Gottardo files complaint in Switzerland against unnamed parties who alleged that it held accounts in the name of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, including one in the Bahamas. 

Grenada revokes licenses of bank and insurers

The Grenada International Financial Services Authority has revoked the licenses of one offshore bank and four offshore insurers and issued warnings against three other companies that have no licenses.The companies whose licenses have been revoked, as reported by the Associated Press, are: Allied General Bank Ltd., Acclaim General Insurance Co. Ltd., Caribbean American Professional & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd., Inter-American Professional & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd., United Assurance Co. Ltd. and Insurance Financial Risk Inc.

Offshore banker implicated in investment fraud scheme

Offshore banker Clifford Pitt, who heads DIAK Bank, which is licensed in Grenada but appears to be managed in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, has been implicated in a fraudulent "high-yield" investment fraud. Pitt assisted Leon F. Harte and Norman Schmidt in a scheme to defraud Colorado-based individuals and institutions out of approximately $20 million, according to the U. S. Government.

Offshore bankers plead guilty to fraud

A dentist and his accomplice who defrauded $1.2 million from clients of their Grenada-licensed offshore shell bank that was capitalized with just $300 have entered into plea agreements in the United States. Dr. Noel E. H. Tait and Douglas E. Castle each pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud at the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 14 and March 27, 2003, respectively.

Insider Talking: February 28, 2003

Christopher Stone, ex-Managing Director of now-defunct, Dominica-based Investors Bank and Trust Ltd. was released from custody in Belgium in February on bail of 125,000 Euros, said a source; A default judgment for $130 million was entered against Bahamas-registered Vavasseur Corp. at the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia on February 21, 2003 for its part in an international Ponzi scheme; Grenada Supreme Court issued a $125 million judgment against Van Arthur Brink, a.k.a. Gilbert Allen Ziegler, former head of the First International Bank of Grenada; Allen Wheatley, former Financial Secretary of the British Virgin Islands, was sentenced to serve five months in prison on February 17 after being found guilty of corruption charges; Cayman Islands-based businessman Kenneth Dart has acquired a 5.7 per cent stake in financially crippled, Bermuda-based insurance firm Mutual Risk Management; British trader Sean Alexander Quinn, 36, was released from prison in Barbados on December 5, 2002 after pleading guilty to an amended charge of money laundering; Receivers for the fraudulently-operated asset planning group Merrill Scott & Associates have found $1.03 million of assets in the Cayman Islands; The Bahamas Ministry of Finance expects to receive a report on the status of the financially-troubled Bahamas International Securities Exchange in the first week of March, 2003; The number of companies incorporating in the Cayman Islands has steadily decreased over the last three years, according to a report by Cayman Net News based on information provided by the Registry General; Florida-based Briton Edward Myles Chism Jr., 63, was taken into custody in Florida on February 7, 2003 - one day after being criminally indicted on three counts of tax evasion at federal court in Miami; Bermuda may be about to lose its grip at the top of the offshore world; and The Irish Minister for Justice has applied to Ireland's High Court for an order directing the Cayman Islands branch of Ansbacher International to pay US$3.1 million to cover the costs of a long-running inquiry into corruption and tax evasion.

Hunt for Imperial Consolidated assets moves to the United States

The former Managing Director of Imperial Consolidated's offshore bank tried to remove its $500,000 security deposit with MasterCard International four months AFTER the bank went into provisional liquidation. That is an allegation contained in a petition filed at the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on February 7, 2003 by Marcus Wide, Provisional Liquidator of Imperium Bank.

Two more Grenada offshore bankers charged with fraud

Two principals of a Grenada-licensed offshore bank whose directors included a former Governor-General, an ex-Prime Minister and two Justices of the Peace have been criminally charged in the United States. Noel E. H. Tait, a former staff dentist with the Department of Corrections in Washington D. C., and Douglas E. Castle were each charged with one count of wire fraud on January 30, 2003 at the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Imperium Bank Ltd.: Section 304 Petition

Section 304 Petition for Assistance in Insolvency Proceedings in Grenada by Marcus Wide, as the Foreign Representative of Imperium Bank Ltd., at the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Imperial Consolidated Ltd.: Section 304 Petition

Section 304 Petition for Assistance in Insolvency Proceedings in the United Kingdom by Philip Lyon and Alistair Wood, as the Foreign Representatives of Imperial Consolidated Ltd., a.k.a. Imperial Consolidated Group Plc and Imperial Consolidated Plc, at the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

SEC case against Kenneth Lagonia dismissed

An SEC lawsuit alleging fraud against Kenneth Lagonia, once listed as a director of DIAK Bank, which is licensed in Grenada but apparently based in St. Vincent, has been dismissed at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Terry Neal arrested on suspicion of tax evasion

Offshore services provider and asset protection author Terry Leroy Neal has been arrested and jailed in Oregon after a criminal complaint accused him of making false statements in his personal tax returns filed with the IRS.Neal was arrested on December 27, 2002—one day after a criminal complaint was filed against him at the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, in Portland, which is Neal's home-town.

Insider Talking: November 30, 2002

The British Columbia Securities Commission has scheduled a hearing for December 10 11, 2002 to consider applications to vary asset freeze orders relating to accounts at the Bank of Montreal in Vancouver that were frozen in 2000 as part of