The unfolding saga of moves by the UK to force its Overseas Territories to recognize fiscal offences in its mutual legal assistance laws is extraordinary in that it reveals the lengths that politicians, civil servants and businessmen will apparently go to lie or mislead the public when they think it is in their best interests to do so.It also underscores the importance of newsletters like Offshore Alert, which was launched in February, 1997 to provide clients with an independent and accurate source of information in a sometimes overly secretive offshore world where the truth is often difficult to find.
Cayman governor John Owen appears to have secretly promised the UK government that Cayman will change its law to allow foreign investigations of tax evasion.That is the startling revelation disclosed in the minutes of a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee of the UK government held in London on December 15, 1997.
The Cayman Islands government is facing its second scandal within seven months following an announcement that Minister of Land John McLean has been cleared of illegally obtaining Crown Land worth tens of millions of dollars - despite evidence to the contrary. The circumstances of the official whitewash of McLean are such that it calls into question the ability of the current government to administer its affairs in a competent or moral manner, including regulating its offshore financial services sector.
David Walsh, the former head of Bre X Minerals, tried to close a bank account in the Bahamas and take out his entire deposit of $25.3 million two weeks after an audit revealed concluded that the supposedly rich Busang gold
Following pressure from Offshore Alert, the Cayman government has done a U-turn and launched a fresh investigation into the suspicious circumstances in which Minister of Land John McLean came into possession of Crown Land worth tens of millions of dollars. In a letter dated March 17, Attorney General Richard Coles, acting on behalf of the Governor, John Owen, wrote to us stating that McLean "is concerned that the matter should be clarified as soon as possible".
Offshore Alert can today confirm that the Cayman Islands Governor, John Owen, HAS received a directive from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London instructing the island to introduce legislation to assist foreign countries with tax investigations.Yesterday, we ran a story indicating that the directive existed but also quoting senior government and business sources as categorically stating that it did not.Today, after further investigations, Offshore Alert can clear up any confusion and confirm that FCO correspondence seeking co-operation on foreign tax investigations has indeed arrived in Cayman and its existence is well-known in the top echelons of power.
A series of recently-concluded talks between the US government and a Cayman government/private sector delegation that began last week in Washington have been termed "extremely beneficial" by Cayman governor John Owen, who headed the delegation.The meetings were designed to "continue to foster good relations with the US government" and to discuss problems of mutual interest, said Owen, who initiated the first series of talks last year.