Reliable sources in the Bahamas reported yesterday that a Government agency there has frozen corporate bank accounts controlled by Cayman Gang of Four securities trader, Ryan Bateman. The companies named are Bahamas Exploration Limited, and Atlantic Petroleum Limited. Bateman's criminal past has recently been the topic of heated discussion in Nassau, in the Assembly; Opposition leaders have repeatedly questioned the advisability of the government working with an individual accused of being a known fugitive and fraudster, who made a large payment for oil exploration rights, and received a license, under what are alleged to be suspicious circumstances, involving possible official corruption.
The stolen money, which was tracked by investigators, was transferred from the Cayman Islands corporation, Bateman & Company Limited, to the Bahamas. The amount frozen is not known; Cayman sources assert that more than $450m was taken, from the accounts of retired North American investors, Accused of the massive fraud are the Cayman Gang of Four, who are Sharon Lexa Lamb, Ryan Bateman, Derek Buntain, and Fernando Moto Mendes, all of who are known to have fled Grand Cayman.
Bateman, who claims a fifteen-year background in oil exploration, is a Cayman-based Canadian securities trader with a history of fraud in his native Alberta. He is believed to be in hiding in the Republic of Panama, where he and his brother own and operate an unlicensed wealth management company. He claims to have foreclosed on certain corporate exploration rights, which position is hotly contested by American investors, who assert his actions have no legal basis.
Bahamas Exploration Limited, which is incorporated in the Isle of Man, where Sharon Lexa Lamb comes from, was formerly known as Falkland Gold & Minerals, Limited, and appears to have had no successes, in the Falkland Islands, and Cuba, notwithstanding receiving a larger amount of investment capital. There are also reports that audits were not conducted or filed by the company.