The massive amount of government corruption, being revealed at the trial of the former TCI Prime Minister, is a signal to compliance officers to make a major upward adjustment in Country risk for the British Overseas Territory. The scale of the bribes is frankly enough to cause professionals to tell investors and developers to give TCI a wide berth at this time.
Many companies seeking government approval for large resort and real estate development projects were forced to pay huge bribes to senior government officials, their political parties, or their immediate family members. The risk is not only a violation of UK, US or Canadian laws, but that subsequent disclosure of the illegal way in which approvals were granted will result in their revocation, causing a total loss to the foreign investment company.
Another way that the corrupt TCI officials made an illicit profit was to first purchase and later resell, prime properties needed by developers. There appears to be no end to the bribes & kickbacks these greedy politicians, and their associates, reaped over the past two decades.
Also, it might be appropriate if American-based credit card issuers take note when PEPs runs millions of dollars through his or her card, when their salaries are nominal. The Prime Minister reportedly pushed $5m through his American Express Centurion Card. The Centurion is only for those who spend more than $250,000 annually, and it is by invitation only. One individual in Compliance at American Express was clearly not doing his job in monitoring PEP activity in the Turks & Caicos. No PEP should ever qualify for a Centurion Card, gentlemen, unless his salary, or inherited assets, or prior legitimate business earnings, justify it, in my humble opinion.
Please advise clients that, due to the out-of-control corruption at the Turks & Caicos Islands, you recommend that they avoid it, lest they get burned, down the road, when their investment loses its required approval, after they have sunk millions into it.
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