First International Bank of Grenada

In the late 1990s, the Government of Grenada licensed more than 40 offshore banks, virtually all of which were overtly fraudulent. Several of the licenses were given to the First International Bank of Grenada group, which had 182 telephone and fax numbers registered with Cable & Wireless in Grenada and, apart from banks, also included a stock exchange, an insurer, and a registered agent. With bogus initial capital of $32 million, comprising worthless shares in a sham investment fund that had false NAVs and a photo of a ruby that it did not even own, FIBG took in more than $200 million from investors who were offered annual interest of up to 250% and told their principal and returns were “insured” and “guaranteed”. After OffshoreAlert exposed FIBG in 1999, the bank sued for libel at federal court in Miami and sought an injunction to prevent further publication, supported by an affidavit from Grenada’s financial services regulator, Michael Creft. When five of the bank’s principals were criminally indicted in Oregon two years later, Creft admitted to U.S. prosecutors that he had committed perjury when testifying against OffshoreAlert in the libel action and that he and Grenada’s Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, had received bribes from FIBG. After the bank collapsed, two of its principals fled to Uganda, where they were arrested in a shoot-out with police in which their bodyguard was killed and deported to the U.S., where they and three others had been indicted for fraud and money laundering. One defendant died pending trial and the other four pleaded guilty to money laundering, for which they received prison terms.
Timeline
29

January

1999

Attorneys threaten OffshoreAlert with lawsuit over exposé of insurance-banking fraud

Offshore Alert has received two letters from attorneys threatening to sue us over the banking/insurance scandal involving World Investors Stock Exchange, International Deposit Insurance Corporation, First International Bank of Grenada, International Exchange Bank and Fidelity International Bank, that is exposed in the January 29, 1999 edition of Offshore Alert.
29

January

1999

Banking-insurance scam advertisements ask investors to sign away their assets

Avertisement from 'Vincent Lachmi' and 'Dr. Vincent Kumar' starts appearing on the Internet in connection with fraud perpetrated in the names of the International Deposit Insurance Corporation, the World Investors Stock Exchange, Fidelity International Bank, International Exchange Bank and the First International Bank of Grenada.
Van Brink (l) & Robert Skirving (r)
29

January

1999

OffshoreAlert exposes massive offshore banking and insurance fraud

Offshore Alert can today expose a massive fraud involving at least three banks, an insurance company and a stock exchange into which investors are believed to have invested tens of millions of dollars. Participants in the scam include the World Investors Stock Exchange in Grenada, the International Deposit Insurance Corporation in Nevis, the First International Bank of Grenada, the International Exchange Bank, which is registered in either Nauru or Grenada but operated out of Bermuda and Texas; and Fidelity International Bank, which is registered in Nauru but operated from St. Vincent.
12

February

1999

‘I see no evidence of fraud by FIBG,’ writes Grenada regulator Michael Creft

Letter to OffshoreAlert from Grenada's financial regulator Michael Creft regarding the First International Bank of Grenada, World Investors' Stock Exchange, Fidelity International Bank, International Exchange Bank, and International Deposit Insurance Corporation. Disturbingly, the letter was faxed to OffshoreAlert from FIBG's office.
fibg-v-offshorealert
25

February

1999

First International Bank of Grenada Ltd. et al v. David Marchant et al: Libel Complaint

Libel Complaint in First International Bank of Grenada Ltd., of Grenada; International Depositors' Reinsurance Corporation, Ltd., doing business as IDIC, of Nevis, and World Investors' Stock Exchange, of Grenada v. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
26

February

1999

Grenada scam bank offers annual interest of 250 per cent

Offshore Alert's story about the banking/insurance scam that appeared in last month's edition of the newsletter has created quite a stir in the Caribbean. Several newspapers in the region followed up on the scandal, including those in Nevis, St. Vincent and Bermuda, and we received requests for assistance from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the the FBI.
04

March

1999

First International Bank of Grenada et al v. David Marchant et al: Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction in First International Bank of Grenada Ltd., of Grenada; International Depositors' Reinsurance Corporation Ltd., doing business as IDIC, of Nevis, and World Investors' Stock Exchange Ltd., of Grenada v. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
08

March

1999

First International Bank of Grenada Ltd. et al v. David Marchant et al: Amended Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction

Amended Emergency Motion for Preliminary Injunction in First International Bank of Grenada Ltd., International Depositors' Reinsurance Corporation Ltd., doing business as IDIC; and World Investors' Stock Exchange v. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
31

March

1999

Grenada bank scam: Injunction bid against Offshore Alert fails

The First International Bank of Grenada, the International Deposit Insurance Corporation and the World Investors Stock Exchange this month failed in their bid to obtain a court injunction preventing Offshore Alert from continuing to report on their fraudulent activities.Attorneys representing these entities filed hundreds of pages of documents at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in an effort to obtain an emergency injunction preventing Offshore Alert from continuing to report on their dubious activities.
30

April

1999

Insider Talking: April 30, 1999

The saying 'There's one born every minute' was never more evident than during a recent interview OffshoreAlert conducted with an Arizona-based creditor of Gilbert Ziegler, the chairman of the fraudulently-run First International Bank of Grenada; The depths to which The Oxford Club's parent, Baltimore-based Agora Inc., will stoop to attract new business seemingly knows no bounds; In the book the Sovereign Individual, which is co-authored by Lines Overseas Management shareholders Lord William Rees-Mogg and James Dale Davidson, there is a paragraph on Page 188 that seems to advocate an illegal act when advising readers on asset protection; Although we published a list of shareholders for Bermuda-based financial services firm Lines Overseas Management last month, the identities of many of the beneficial shareholders was hidden through companies; We reported last month on an alleged fraud being committed by Threshold Insurance Services, which is an apparently bogus insurer being operated by The Harris Organization of Panama and being investigated by banking and insurance regulators in Florida. We learned this month that official records in Panama show that the company has now been dissolved; and Accounting firm Deloitte & Touche, which is liquidating First Cayman Bank, is still forecasting a pay out of 45 to 55 cents on the dollar.
30

April

1999

More firms list on dubious World Investors’ Stock Exchange

One of the First International Bank of Grenada's partners in crime, the Grenada-based World Investors' Stock Exchange, has stepped up its efforts to part the public from their savings. The shares of seven new companies were listed on WISE this month to go with the only other previous listing, that of EcoMed International, which we recently revealed had a false prospectus.
30

April

1999

Grenada asks FBI to investigate offshore bank

Grenada began to come to grips this month with a financial scandal that is threatening to make the island the laughing stock of the offshore world. Three months after Offshore Alert exposed it as a fraud, the First International Bank of Grenada appears to be on the verge of being closed down by the local government.
31

May

1999

First International Bank of Grenada launches Pyramid scheme

The First International Bank of Grenada and the sham insurer known as IDIC have launched an international pyramid scheme as the latest phase of their plan to part investors from their money. There is also concern that FIBG may have become involved in stock manipulation involving a Florida-registered penny stock firm that trades on the NASDAQ over-the-counter market.
31

July

1999

Crown Meridian, Sattva Investment Bank and Offshore Investment Services join FIBG scam

Grenada-registered Crown Meridian Bank has followed in the footsteps of its sister bank, First International Bank of Grenada, by promising depositors annual interest rates of 200 per cent and falsely claiming deposits are insured by the sham insurer IDIC, we can disclose.Crown Meridian is run by the same people who control FIBG and was licensed by Grenada's regulators on February 1, 1999 - three days after Offshore Alert exposed FIBG as a scam.
keith-mitchell
31

August

1999

Grenada Prime Minister clears FIBG of illegal acts

The massive financial scam being committed in Grenada by Canadian and American crooks has reached new levels of farce after the island's government announced that it had investigated - and cleared - the First International Bank of Grenada of any wrongdoing. Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell gave the bank a clean bill of health at a press conference held on July 23 and attended by local journalists.
31

August

1999

Insider Talking: August 31, 1999

In February, Offshore Alert reported about stock manipulation allegations involving Bermuda Stock Exchange-listed Mezzanine Capital; Viktor Kozeny, the 'Pirate of Prague' who allegedly defrauded his countrymen in the former Czechoslovakia of tens of millions of dollars before fleeing, buying an Irish passport and going to live in the Bahamas, has apparently fallen out with the Grenada government, according to Grenada Today newspaper; A letter to the editor that was published in the Caymanian Compass newspaper on August 20, 1999 caused rum amusement in knowledgeable law enforcement circles; and In the ten days after we posted the Harris Organization/OBNR libel judgment on our web-site, 638 people had downloaded the entire 17 pages, making it the most popular document on the 'Free Documents' section of our web-site.
30

September

1999

FIBG ‘auditor’ has no CPA licence, co-owner indicted in US

Offshore Alert can this month report further disturbing revelations about the First International Bank of Grenada that make a mockery of the island as a legitimate financial centre.One of the most shocking discoveries is that the annual financial statement filed recently by the bank with regulators was signed by a former bankrupt with a criminal record who is passing himself off as a CPA.Nevada-based accountant Kenneth Nelson Craig had his CPA licence revoked in the US in 1996 after committing an appalling number of offences, including swindling three clients out of $81,000.Equally disturbing is news that one of FIBG's owners, Roger V. Cagle, has been criminally indicted in New Jersey on charges of racketeering, bribery and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
30

September

1999

Insider Talking: September 30, 1999

Dominica-registered Overseas Development Bank & Trust has yet to satisfy three judgments totalling US$1.24 million that were entered against it in favor of creditors on January 29, 1999, sham New Utopia jurisdiction claims it is launching "the New Utopia Investment Fund of the Cayman Islands", Ralph Sherman's involvement in the First International Bank of Grenada, comparisons between Van Brink's First International Bank of Grenada and Michael Randy's Canadian Trade Bank, alleged investment fraudster Brent Wagman surfaces in Panama, '60 Minutes' television show goes soft on Alexandre Konanykhine.
31

October

1999

Bank of Bermuda accounts used for on-line gaming

Links to the Internet gaming industry have embarrassed the Bank of Bermuda and contributed to the termination of its correspondent banking relationship with Swiss American Bank in Antigua. The bank, which is based in a jurisdiction that prohibits gambling, except for special events such as 'Cup Match', insists that it does not provide banking services to on-line gaming operators. However, more than a dozen gaming web-sites claiming to be licensed in Antigua and Venezuela have been informing gamblers for several months that they can open up accounts by wire transferring funds into Bank of Bermuda accounts at Citibank in New York and Midland Bank PLC in London.
31

October

1999

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.
31

October

1999

Insider Talking: October 31, 1999

BaTelCo throws spanner in the works of Bahamas International Stock Exchange private placement, Cayman Islands Stock Exchange tells New Utopia to take a hike, trial in Bermuda over European family's wealth costs $600,000 per week, First International Bank of Grenada has difficulty with its math, journalists arrested in Grenada, new sham investment game appears on the Internet, and the growth of the Bahamas is detailed in a prospectus for the new Bahamas International Securities Exchange.
30

November

1999

Insider Talking: November 30, 1999

Cayman Islands Immigration Board approves Ann Nealon's work permit for Walkers law firm by a vote of two to one; Banc Caribe potential target for Cash 4 Titles victims; Antigua assures USA that William Cooper will be extradited; Scott Oliver leaves Lines Overseas Management; and Hundreds of Caribbean immigrants living in the US and residents of Dominica lose $1.2 million in investment scam.
31

December

1999

IDIC moves to Grenada after being closed down in two jurisdictions

Grenada regulators have allowed the sham insurer known as IDIC to incorporate on the island after regulators in Nevis and Dominica closed down the company, we can disclose. IDIC was closed down by Nevis regulators on January 27, 1999 and, the following month, was shut down in Dominica, where it had moved.
31

December

1999

OffshoreAlert Awards For 1999

Annual OffshoreAlert Awards for: Worst Regulator, Worst Regulated Jurisdictions, Lie of the Year, Coward of the Year, Crooks of the Year, Jurisdiction in Most Need of a PR Make-Over, Most Small-Minded Decision, Most Arrogant Jurisdiction, Most Stupid Comments, Here Today, Gone Tomorrow Award, and Most Responsible Regulators.
31

December

1999

Year in Review: 1999

January In our first exposé of the year, we give details of a multi million dollar fraud being committed by the First International Bank of Grenada, the World Investors' Stock Exchange, the International Deposit Insurance Company and related parties in
31

January

2000

FIBG hooks up with Alexander’s World (Or could it be Wayne’s World)

Two more companies have listed on the sham Grenada-registered World Investors' Stock Exchange, bringing the total number of listed issuers to approximately 20. They are Bahamas-registered Alexander Development International Corporation and St. Vincent-registered Molecular Waste Technologies Inc.
31

January

2000

Wellington Bank & Trust – same scam, different name

Offshore Alert has uncovered another highly dubious Grenada-registered bank that is owned by a former bankrupt. Wellington Bank & Trust, which was incorporated on July 27, 1998, is owned by John Edward Brinker Jr. and Gary Joel Bentz, who are both based in Ohio.
31

January

2000

Latest on massive Grenada banking fraud

Offshore Alert can this month reveal further disturbing details about the massive financial fraud that is being committed on the island of Grenada in what appears to be a joint effort between the island's government and the private sector. What is currently taking place in Grenada mirrors what happened in Montserrat in the late 1980s when approximately 300 'paper' banks established with phantom capital defrauded foreign clients of tens of millions of dollars before eventually being closed down by the UK police in 1989/90.
29

February

2000

Larry Barnabe – a businessman to be avoided at all costs

Offshore Alert has uncovered further disturbing information about the dubious past of another of the senior officers within the First International Bank of Grenada group. As with several other North Americans involved in the FIBG scam, Canadian citizen Laurent Barnabe, who is known as Larry Barnabe, has a history of ripping off investors.
29

February

2000

FIBG reports fictitious net income of $60 billion

The founding chairman of the First International Bank of Grenada has informed Grenada's chief offshore regulator, Michael Creft, that FIBG has made a net income of $60 billion in its first two years in business. The astonishing claim is made in a rambling, 26-page letter sent by Van A. Brink (a.k.a. Gilbert Allen Ziegler) to Creft on December 23, 1999 in an effort to assuage the regulator's concerns about the bank.
29

February

2000

The views of Grenada-based banker Peter Johansson on the FIBG scandal

As the First International Bank of Grenada scandal made its way onto the front-page of The Wall Street Journal on February 29, Offshore Alert wondered how the negative publicity was affecting the legitimate financial institutions located on the island. Offshore Alert conducted a Question and Answer session with Peter Johansson, CEO of Swedish-owned Bank Crozier Limited, which was the second offshore bank to be licensed in Grenada in October, 1997.
31

March

2000

Insider Talking: March 31, 2000

AS&K denies it is merging with Truman Bodden & Co. (Cayman), Neville Grant, resigns as head of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, Montserrat revokes offshore banking license of Equity Bank and Trust Company Limited, Grenada's Ambassador to the United States, Denis G. Antoine, makes a fool of himself while defending Grenada's offshore financial sector, illegally-operated offshore 'bank' continues in business despite regulatory action, sham 'Monaco Bank of Trade' tries to lure Internet users by offering absurdly-high rates of return, Russian businessman Vladimir Momitko dismantles web-site in which he sought to breach the copyright of financial publishers.
31

March

2000

Regulators dither over First International Bank of Grenada

There has been considerable activity in Grenada over the last month as regulators belatedly try to get to grips with the fact that at least one-third of all banks incorporated on the island appear to be scams. The Grenada International Financial Services Authority, a newly-formed body designed to better regulate the offshore sector, has held several meetings to discuss the First International Bank of Grenada.
19

April

2000

First International Bank of Grenada Ltd. et al v. David Marchant et al: Dismissal Order

Final Order of Dismissal in First International Bank of Grenada Ltd., of Grenada; International Depositors' Reinsurance Corporation Ltd., doing business as IDIC, of Nevis, and World Investors' Stock Exchange Ltd., of Grenada v. David Marchant and Offshore Business News & Research, Inc. at the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
30

April

2000

Meridian Investment Bank run by former plumber

One of the banks linked with the First International Bank of Grenada group is co-owned and partly run by a former plumber and two former bankrupts, Offshore Alert can reveal. The ex-plumber is Florida resident Sheldon A. Mickelson, 40, who we have been told by two sources is one of the senior partners in Meridian Investment Bank, which is one of the many 'sub-banks' sponsored by FIBG. 
30

April

2000

Grenada regulator Michael Creft is ‘apparently corrupt’, says FIBG auditor

Grenada's Registrar of Offshore Financial Services, Michael Creft, was described last year as being "apparently corrupt" by the first accountant who attempted to audit the books of the First International Bank of Grenada. In a letter to Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, Lauriston Wilson wrote that Creft's actions relating to FIBG were "suspect and lead to the inescapable conclusion that he is apparently corrupt".
31

May

2000

Business card belies former plumber’s bank directorship denials

Parties involved with Grenada-registered Meridian Investment Bank are still denying that former plumber Sheldon Mickelson and Burdett Streeter are directors of the bank, despite evidence to the contrary.The denials on behalf of Mickelson are particularly bizarre since he has recently been handing out business cards in the US that read 'Meridian Investment Bank Ltd., Sheldon Mickelson, Director'.
30

June

2000

More revelations about the great Grenada banking scandal

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, the great Grenada banking scandal reached new levels of farce this month.One bank is operating without a banking licence, another is capitalized by a painting and the First International Bank of Grenada was still open for business at the end of June. Open, that is, to accept deposits but not to pay interest to its depositors, many of whom have complained to the island's regulators that they have not received interest payments for several months.Even allowing for corruption and incompetence, the refusal of the Grenada government to close down FIBG has led to one of the most bizarre situations in the history of offshore banking.
31

July

2000

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.
31

July

2000

FIBG chairman calls for ‘positive energy’ to turn bank around

On July 4, 2000, not long before Adrian Ball's audit of the First International Bank of Grenada was completed, the bank's chairman, Richard Downes, sent an extraordinary letter to FIBG's depositors.In the 10-page letter, Downes acknowledged that FIBG was "experiencing a severe cash-flow problem" and asked clients for their "forgiveness".He then called on depositors to help to overcome the problems through "the flow of positive energy" in order to "reverse the polarities" of the "negative energy" surrounding the bank.
31

August

2000

FIBG put into receivership, more amazing revelations from Grenada

After allowing tens of millions of dollars to disappear and the crooks to flee the island, Grenada's government finally took over the First International Bank of Grenada this month. Government accountant Garvey Louison was appointed Receiver of FIBG on August 1 and immediately started preparing to liquidate the bank and all of its sub-banks.
30

September

2000

FIBG victims obtain $373 million asset freeze order

Depositors of the First International Bank of Grenada have obtained an order from the Grenada Supreme Court that allows them to freeze up to $373 million of the bank's worldwide assets, if they can find them.The creditors are calling upon all depositors to join the lawsuit as co-plaintiffs and are seeking contributions of $1,000 each to cover costs.
31

October

2000

Grenada licenses new FIBG and blocks FBI investigation into fraud

Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is being lined up as a potential defendant in a civil fraud lawsuit following the collapse of the First International Bank of Grenada. Depositors have vowed to take action against Mitchell after his government announced that it had granted a license to a new bank called First International Bank of Grenada 2000 Ltd.
31

October

2000

Regulators issue Cease and Desist Order against Wellington Bank

The Indiana Securities Division has issued a Cease and Desist Order against Grenada-registered Wellington Bank & Trust Ltd., which is a sub-bank of the First International Bank of Grenada. Also named in the Order were Nevada-registered Wellington Capital Holdings Limited Inc., Ohio-registered CastleRock Consulting LLC and Ohio residents John E. Brinker Jr. and Gary J. Bentz.