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.
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".
The Cayman Islands authorities have so far processed three matters under the Proceeds of Criminal Conduct Law, which became law in September, 1996 but became operational at the beginning of this year.Two of the matters involved applications from the US authorities to restrain the assets of suspected criminals while the other resulted in the prosecution of a man on relatively minor money laundering offences, to which he pleaded guilty and was given a prison term, said Cayman's Attorney General Richard Coles.