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The Michael Alberga problem: What’s Cayman going to do about him?

In an article published today entitled ‘Cayman company manager produced sham share register to protect client with huge debts in U.S.‘, OffshoreAlert tells the sorry tale of Cayman Islands attorney Michael Alberga and his firm’s breathtakingly brazen attempts to conceal information from us about a client who was fleeing scandal and substantial debts in the U.S.

At the outset, I want to emphasize that this is not a Cayman Islands problem, at least not yet, or even an offshore problem. It is a Michael Alberga problem and a Travers Thorp Alberga law firm problem.

I’ve been requesting copies of share registers in offshore jurisdictions since 1990 and I have seldom encountered even minor problems. On the odd occasion that I was denied a register, it was because a company acted as its own registered agent and did not understand the law, which is easily understandable. Once they realized they had no legal alternative, the document was soon produced.

As the owner and operator of a licensed Company Manager, Alberga does not have the excuse of ignorance. It is implausible that, as a professional registered agent and a self-proclaimed specialist in “regulatory” law, he wouldn’t know something as basic that a register of members must contain the names of all shareholders, past and present, and that registers for companies conducting business locally must be made available to the public each and every business day.

Why, then, did he refuse and ignore so many requests from OffshoreAlert for a document that, by law, should have been made available the day we requested it? And why, when he produced a falsified document, did he certify that it was a “true and correct copy of the original”? Here’s a copy of the falsified register and here’s a copy of the original. Spot the difference!

Alberga seems to think he is above the law. It is up to the Cayman Islands to show him that he is not.

For any attorney, much less a former President of the Cayman Islands Law Society, to falsely certify the authenticity of a sham document is a major offense. It calls into question his integrity at the most basic level, immediately renders him lacking in any and all credibility, and invites the question of whether there are other documents that he has falsely certified and to whom were they given.

The question now is: What are Cayman’s regulators and legal profession going to do about it? Do nothing, and this will become a Cayman Islands problem, providing rocket fuel to critics around the world who berate the jurisdiction for a perceived lack of transparency and tolerance of misconduct. Do something, and this will remain only a Michael Alberga and Travers Thorp Alberga problem.

Likewise Travers Thorp Alberga as a whole. Take no action against your managing partner, and your law firm will automatically – and deservedly – lose all of its credibility. Get rid of him, and you should escape with minor reputational damage. The law firm’s managing partner, Tony Travers, is, perhaps, Cayman’s most aggressive and outspoken defender when the jurisdiction comes under attack from those who accuse it of helping individuals and businesses commit tax evasion and avoidance. Whether he likes it or not, the time has now come for Travers to put up or shut up.