|Antigua PM Gaston Browne|
Every day, we learn of systemic corruption in the East Caribbean states, and the utter failure of U.S. and UK law enforcement agencies and regulators to attack the misconduct, even when the massive financial crime occurring therein impacts onshore financial institutions, and victims alike. Then region is suffering from total neglect from Western nations, notwithstanding increasing Chinese Communist and Russian influence, and is regarded as an unimportant backwater which is not deemed a priority for economic assistance, or law enforcement support.
Some of the most recent nightmares that keep reminding compliance officers why it is prudent to stay out of the Caribbean, and to question ALL substantial financial transactions originating in, or flowing to, the independent jurisdictions that were formerly British overseas territories:
(1) ANTIGUA: The country where now disgraced cybercurrency trading giant FTX was incorporated, although it chose to have its headquarters in the Bahamas. Links between FTX, a local Antiguan bank, and Prime Minister GASTON BROWNE, who took a mysterious trip to Nassau, with an unidentified Syrian national in tow, continue to raise questions regarding missing millions or billions, and connected lawyers who assisted SBF.
(2) THE BAHAMAS: An offshore bank in Nassau, Deltec Bank & Trust, and a State of Washington regional bank, containing millions in strange deposits from only four customers, and FTX activities, including how did Bahamian regulators allow the company to buy $30m in overpriced real estate with client money, all add up to a total lack of regulatory oversight.
(3) THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS; How much does indicted former BVI premier ANDREW FAHIE know about the facilitation of international narcotics trafficking into, and through St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica, amongst other East Caribbean states, and how much will he divulge, to mitigate his eventual sentence in an American court? We understand many leaders in the region are enduring sleepless nights of late.
|indicted former BWI Premier ANDREW FAHIE|
(4) COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA: The buying of expat votes in the recent national elections, allegedly paid for by Prime Minister ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, and reportedly funneled through bagmen who bought airline tickets for voters to fly to Dominica from abroad, and also laid cash on voters, so that they would vote for Skerrit, continues to soil the country's sordid reputation as a centre for corruption.
|Dominica PM ROOSEVELT SKERRIT|
(5) ST LUCIA; The failure of the current government to attend to the wholesale theft of real estate, by agents of the previous regime, the unsolved murder of a British national there, and the proliferation of automatic weapons, in the hands of organized crime gangs, leading to near anarchy in the streets, is not being addressed, and ruining the fragile tourism industry. You are advised not to go to St. Lucia for any reason until things calm down, unless you travel with a bulletproof vest.
Compliance officers, note well these stories.We could go on and on, but you get the message; the risk levels in the region are for the charts, and show no signs of leveling off. Perhaps a total ban on correspondent accounts might influence change, but we doubt that such well-established corruption will ever be suppressed internally, in any of the above jurisdictions.Western banks, keep your distance; tourists go elsewhere. Of course, if global warming continues, the melting icecaps at the poles will eventually inundate those corrupt Caribbean capitals, drowning the corrupters in their mansions, with their millions. Perhaps karma is the appropriate solution; The Iceman Cometh.