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Insider Talking: January 31, 2005

January 31, 2005 by David Marchant

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Search the Internet for 'Caledonian Offshore Ltd.' and you will receive a plethora of hits for web-sites containing allegations that the firm engages in wholesale illegal activity, specifically that it takes money from residents of third-world countries on the false promise that they will be offered jobs in the offshore oil industry; Tthere is still no sign of the US Postal Service taking any action against another up-front-cash-for-non-existent-jobs fraudster – Rommy Kriplani, a few years after OffshoreAlert handed them more than enough evidence to bring a prosecution for mail fraud; Ten months after the closure of Canada-based OFC Publications Inc., which published Offshore Finance Canada and Offshore Finance USA magazines, another publisher of news about offshore financial centers and issues that affect them has closed down; The Financial Services Authority in the United Kingdom has refused an application for 'permission to carry on regulated activities' by Target Asset Management Limited, whose links with accused fraudster Sendjer Shefket were first revealed by OffshoreAlert on June 30, 2003; The Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Second Circuit in Panama has allowed a request from former employees of the now-defunct Harris Organization to freeze US$800,000 of its assets on the grounds that they were fired illegally, according to a report in El Panama America newspaper on December 27, 2004; Bermuda hotelier and former Minister of Tourism David Dodwell has settled litigation with a former business partner that lasted more than 12 years, spanned courts in three countries and was notable for its acrimony; British solicitor Mark Agombar, who was banned as a company director for six years in the United Kingdom last year for his part in a timeshare scam, was named as a defendant in a civil complaint filed by Johnston International Limited at the Turks & Caicos Islands Supreme Court on April 30, 2004; and The Securities Commission of the Bahamas announced on November 16, 2004 that it was "monitoring" a criminal investigation in Switzerland into suspected investment fraud and money laundering by Dieter Behring and "assessing any possible connections Mr. Behring may have with existing licensees or registrants of the Commission.

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As any fule kno, the biggest enemy of fraud, corruption, money laundering, and other forms of financial crime is transparency, while their best friend is secrecy. That's why the unprecedented mass sealing of cases that's taking place at the Financial Services Division of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands is repugnant to anyone with a genuine concern for financial crime.