Keith Mitchell

In the late 1990s, Grenada opened its doors to fraudsters, licensing more than 40 offshore banks that collectively swindled foreign investors and depositors out of hundreds of millions of dollars in a variety of crude scams. It was all done with the support and protection of Grenada's Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell, who received bribes from the banks, according to testimony provided to US prosecutors by Grenada's former financial services regulator Michael Creft, who also admitted that he too was bribed. In 2004, OffshoreAlert also revealed an allegation that Mitchell had received a cash bribe of $500,000 from US fraudster Eric Resteiner in return for appointing Resteiner to a diplomatic position. Remarkably, Mitchell admitted to OffshoreAlert in a telephone interview that he did indeed receive cash from Resteiner but claimed that it was "only" about $14,000 and it was for "reimbursement of expenses". A few years later, a U.S. Department of Justice source told OffshoreAlert that Resteiner had shown U.S. agents a video recording of him bribing Mitchell in the hope of receiving leniency on fraud charges that he faced at federal court in Massachusetts regarding a $47 million investment scam that he had perpetrated. This account was confirmed by Resteiner’s counsel in a court filing. A Commission of Inquiry was set up in Grenada to look into the allegation but it appeared to be as corrupt as the conduct it was supposed to be looking into and Mitchell was cleared.
Timeline
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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

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.
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.
30

June

2002

Insider Talking: June 30, 2002

The Harris Organization financial services group has been evicted from its offices in Panama City for non-payment of rent; The revocation of the banking license of Baltic Bank Ltd. earlier this year by the Offshore Finance Authority of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been stayed by Justice Brian Alleyne, sitting in the local High Court, according to a source familiar with the action; The battle for control of $6.5 million of frozen assets of a now-defunct, Dominica-based Ponzi scheme known as Stock Generation is dragging on through the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts; Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and several other members of his Cabinet have received an award of $200,000, plus legal costs of $10,000, after winning a libel action brought against local journalist Stanley Charles, businessman and radio talk show producer Eddie Frederick and Grenada Broadcasting Network; The Central Bank of Belize has issued warnings about two entities that may be incorrectly holding themselves out to be licensed financial institutions: Trinity Savings Bank and Goldman & Stein; A Bermuda resident has accused the island's biggest law firm, Conyers, Dill & Pearman, of charging exorbitant fees for taking two trustees off her will, reported The Royal Gazette newspaper; A new date of July 15, 2002 has been set for the resumed hearing in the Bahamas of the appeal brought by the directors of Suisse Security  Bank & Trust Ltd. against the decision of the Central Bank revoking SSBT's licence; and The lack of concern shown by the operators of the Financial Times web-site for the financial well-being of its visitors continues.
30

April

2004

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.
15

May

2004

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
30

June

2004

Insider Talking: June 30, 2004

In separate actions, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has announced its intention to revoke the Mutual Fund Administrator's license held by Signature Financial Group (Grand Cayman) Ltd., c/o P. O. Box 2494 GT, Grand Cayman, and that it has revoked the unrestricted Class 'B' Insurer's License held by Potomac Indemnity Company, effective April 6, 2004; Controversial newsletter publisher Pirate Investor LLC has obtained a subpoena against Yahoo! Inc. as part of its attempt to identify an anonymous Internet user who is suspected of a breach of copyright; The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission issued notices over April-June, 2004 urging the public to "exercise the greatest possible caution" when dealing with several businesses; The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates national banks in the United States, has issued advisories several 'banks'; If anyone wants a blueprint of how not to attempt to transport more than $10,000 out of the United States without correctly filling out the proper Customs forms, they could do a lot worse than study the case of 23-year-old Bahamian national Antunya Shenique Rahming; A Costa Rica-based private bank that targeted expatriates - Corporación Elca, S.A., more commonly known as Banco Elca - has been closed down by local regulator Superintendencia General de Entidades Financieras; Evidence of corruption against Grenada's Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and former Director of Public Prosecutions and current "Special Prosecutor" Hugh Wildman while he was Director of Public Prosecutions was referred to in a Judgment delivered in the UK High Court on June 24, 2004 in a civil lawsuit that had been filed against former First International Bank of Grenada CEO Lawrence Victor Jones by his former fiancé, Kerry Cox; Apart from being home to many a fraudulently-operated offshore company, the South Pacific island of Niue is also one of the biggest producers of Internet pornography in the world; The Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced on June 11, 2004 that it had concluded its proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against Trans Pacific Insurance Corporation, a Cayman Islands-registered insurers, and Triton Underwriting Insurance Agency Pty Ltd.; and Under the Progressive Labour Party Government, Bermuda — for so long a model, small-country jurisdiction — is hurtling towards being as openly corrupt as any of the islands in the Caribbean that it has historically looked down on.
31

January

2005

Eric Resteiner may be close to plea agreement with US prosecutors

Former Bahamas resident and Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner is considering entering into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors in Boston, where he has been indicted for alleged investment fraud. Details of a possible deal were contained in a joint filing by the U. S. Attorney's Office and Resteiner's counsel at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on December 2, 2004.
05

July

2005

Insider Talking: July 5, 2005

United States-based, British national Nigel Scott Grant has reared his head again, a few years after OffshoreAlert exposed his involvement in sham offshore credit unions, at least one of which was used to commit investment fraud; The U. S. District Court for the Central District of California has granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC and against a publicly-traded firm that was closely associated with a closed-end investment fund that was once listed on the Bermuda Stock Exchange; A Commission of Inquiry, which some people believe is a sham, has begun in Grenada regarding a bribery allegation against Keith Mitchell; Still in Grenada, telecommunications firm Cable & Wireless recently settled a libel action brought by sue-happy Keith Mitchell for allowing derogatory messages about him concerning the alleged Resteiner cash bribe to be posted on a web-site it hosted, reported the Associated Press on April 26, 2005; Bruce Cowen is sentenced to prison for his involvement in the fraudulently-operated Lancer Offshore group of hedge funds; The Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission issues warnings against several businesses; and The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission have entered into an Undertaking on Exchange of Information in Securities Matters.
26

July

2005

Prison sentence for another Grenada banker

Yet another principal of a fraudulently-operated, Grenada-licensed offshore bank has received a prison-term for fraud in the United States.Carl H. Lane, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 30 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1.058 million at the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on June 29, 2005.
05

December

2005

Insider Talking: December 5, 2005

Liechtenstein-based offshore provider Bryan Jeeves and his Jeeves Group of Companies have been named as defendants in more civil lawsuits alleging racketeering that have been filed at federal courts in the United States regarding South Carolina-registered Derivium Capital LLC; Ex-Bahamas resident and former Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner is unhappy with the way a criminal action against him is proceeding at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, where he is defending 42 counts of fraud and 18 counts of money laundering; and In a move that shames its counterparts in the United Kingdom, Japan and other countries in Europe and the Caribbean, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has reprimanded an investment broker and suspended its major shareholder and managing director for three years for “gross negligence” and “serious misconduct” in selling investment products connected with the Imperial Consolidated Group at a time when the group - which was based in the UK and Grenada- was widely known to be suspect.
10

February

2006

Ex-Grenada Diplomat pleads guilty to fraud charges

An American who is suspected of bribing the Prime Minister of Grenada for appointing him to a diplomatic position has pleaded guilty to unrelated fraud charges in the United States.Eric Resteiner, 46, pleaded guilty to five counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud at a change of plea hearing that was held at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on February 8, 2006. He is due to be sentenced on May 8. Under a plea agreement, the remaining 53 counts, including 18 regarding money laundering, which carry the harshest penalties, will be dismissed.
07

December

2006

Video of Grenada PM receiving ‘bribe’ surfaces in US, Grenada Gov’t refuses to request a copy

Grenada authorities have turned down the offer of a video tape showing their Prime Minister receiving a $500,000 cash ‘bribe' from investment fraudster Eric Resteiner, OffshoreAlert can reveal.They were notified more than 12 months ago by Resteiner's attorney, John Amabile, that a copy of the six-year-old tape still existed and that it could be obtained through a formal request for assistance to the authorities in the United States, where Resteiner is in custody awaiting sentencing for seven counts of mail and wire fraud to which he pleaded guilty earlier this year at the U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
09

March

2007

Insider Talking: March 9, 2007

The web-sites of two companies whose dubious activities have been highlighted in recent editions of OffshoreAlert have been dismantled over the last few weeks; On February 12, 2007, OffshoreAlert received an email from Kristen Lawson, a “Legislative Advisor” with Miller Thomson LLP, a law firm based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Telecommunications and cable television firms in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands have been dragged into a long-running legal dispute over the ownership of a $900,000 airplane that was damaged in Hurricane Ivan; Under Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, Grenada has become the poster country for corruption and banking fraud; OffshoreAlert recently learned that U. S. Bank N.A. obtained a default judgment for $21 million against British-based alleged fraudster Sendjer Shefket and his British firm Target International Funds Ltd. at federal court in the USA on May 24, 2006; Convicted white-collar criminals who believe they are punished too severely in the United States should be thankful they don't operate in China; and While the U. S. legal system does not yet offer death as a punishment for fraudsters, it is still less than hospitable for convicted white-collar criminals, as Martin A. Armstrong can attest to.
10

June

2007

Ex-Grenada diplomat sentenced to 87 months in prison for investment fraud

Former Grenada diplomat Eric Resteiner has been sentenced to serve 87 months in prison and pay restitution of $34 million for carrying out an investment fraud. In accordance with a plea agreement reached with the 48-year-old conman 15 months earlier, prosecutors had only asked for a prison-term of 71 months but U. S. District Judge Nancy Gertner considered that to be “inadequate punishment”. 
12

June

2007

Grenada PM sued in US by victim of fraudster

Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is being sued in the United States by a victim of conman Eric Resteiner, from whom Mitchell allegedly accepted at least $1 million in bribes.A civil complaint was filed against Mitchell, his wife, Marietta Mitchell, and Resteiner at the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on June 11, 2007. The sole cause of action is fraudulent transfer.
25

June

2007

Resteiner wants $5 m to turn-over ‘bribe’ video-tape, claims attorney

Investment fraudster Eric Resteiner wants $5 million before he will turn over a video that allegedly shows him bribing Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, it has been claimed.Resteiner's apparent reason for demanding payment is that the release of the tape could put his safety at risk and the money will pay for a new identity and a security team when he completes an 87-month prison sentence in 2010.
michael-creft
10

September

2007

Offshore bank bribed regulators and Prime Minister, says ex-chief regulator

Grenada's former chief offshore regulator, Michael Creft, has admitted that the fraudulently operated First International Bank of Grenada bribed regulators and Government members, including Prime Minister Keith Mitchell. Creft has also acknowledged that he committed perjury in support of FIBG's failed
04

January

2008

Insider Talking: January 4, 2008

A public hearing is scheduled to be held before the Colorado Banking Board on January 17, 2008 at which a challenge will be heard to the "emergency order of involuntary liquidation and order for possession" that were entered by the Board on November 19, 2007 against the state's sole remaining offshore bank, American Intercapital Holding LLC., d.b.a. American Intercapital Depository & Trust, f.k.a. American International Depository & Trust; Grenada Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, along with his wife, Marietta Mitchell, was dismissed as a defendant in a civil action at the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on December 5, 2007 after all parties agreed that he is entitled to "head-of-state immunity"; Visitors to the "Warnings" page of a web-site operated by the Nevis Financial Services Regulation & Supervision Department will no longer see a warning that the regulatory agency issued on October 19, 2007 against Global Consultants and Services (Nevis) Limited; and The legal validity of Condor Insurance Limited's Amory-assisted continuance from St. Kitts to Nevis was challenged by Condor's principal, Harvey Milam, in a filing at the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on December 21, 2007.
05

June

2008

Insider Talking: June 5, 2008

Six years after its offshore financial services sector collapsed under the weight of fraudulent banking and investment schemes by the private and public sector that cheated foreign investors collectively out of hundreds of millions of dollars, the island of Grenada is preparing to re-enter the OFC market, notwithstanding its reputation as one of the most corrupt, dishonest and poorly-managed countries in the Caribbean; and Meanwhile, as Grenada looks into re-launching its offshore banking industry, it is in the grip of a major scandal involving one of its local banks, Capital Bank International, which went into receivership on February 14, 2008 amid allegations of fraud and insolvency.
02

July

2008

Insider Talking: July 2, 2008

In another example of the extraordinary inability of Grenada to oversee and regulate its banking industry in anything other than a manner that appears to be suspiciously incompetent to many in the outside world, a local judge has vacated  the appointment of a Receiver for a local bank, Capital Bank International, on a technicality, notwithstanding overwhelming evidence that it is hopelessly insolvent and awash with financial irregularities and improprieties, and Grenada's Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped fraud charges against the bank's controlling shareholder and CEO, Finton DeBourg, only a few weeks after he was charged; Cayman Islands Monetary Authority Chairman Tim Ridley has warned local directors that they may face an increased risk of being served with subpoenas while traveling in the United States in the coming months, such is the political climate in the U. S.; A federal court in Pensacola, Florida has entered a preliminary injunction barring Pinnacle Quest International and its principals from publicizing tax fraud schemes that have been promoted to customers throughout the United States, the U. S. Department of Justice announced on May 16, 2008; and Mark Watson, CEO of Argo Group International Holdings Ltd., was the highest-compensated executive officer of any Bermuda-based, publicly-listed insurer in 2007, receiving a package valued at $15 million, according to a compensation review conducted by OffshoreAlert's sister newsletter, InsideBermuda.