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LATEST NEWS FROM ANGUILLA....
Anguilla celebrates its National Day on Tuesday (so everywhere will be shut). It is now 33 years since the people declared their independence from the Federated State of St. Kitts/Nevis/Anguilla, which Anguilla had been dragged into, kicking and screaming, in the 19th century. One of the most peaceful revolutions in the world (hardly so much as a shot being fired), it is all well-recorded in "Under An English Heaven" by comic-novelist Donald Westlake (published by Hodder & Stoughton). These days it is celebrated by many events, including a round-the-island boat race.
Since the last issue, our Chief Minister returned from the UK and has reported that the Minister responsible for all of the overseas territories, Baroness Patricia Scotland will be visiting the island in September (more on her later). It is considered that while this may be a reflection on the Whitehall Governments improved relationship with Anguillas, since the local elections in March, such a visit is long overdue, being the first to the island by any Minister from the UK ruling Labour party since it swept to power in 1997 (and there were precious few by Conservative Ministers in the 18 years before that). Certainly, the present Anguilla Government is basking in its positive relationship with the UK. Before the visit of Bonnie Scotland, there will be a delegation from the Department for International Development (DFID) wholl be assessing the ground-work; they will be here in the first half of June. One matter to be discussed in these visits will be the Anguilla Country Policy Plan, a strategic overview of the island in all of its aspects (e.g. education, health, environment, tourism, financial services, etc.) and where it is going. The present plan was signed off in 1994 having been a couple of years in the making, and has now reached its end. One matter that the Government of Anguilla will be particularly keen to resume will be the transhipment programme. This has been subject to review by the EU in Brussels and was the immediate reason for the collapse of the coalition Government in 1999. In its status as an Overseas Territory of an EU member, Anguilla was able to "divert" a vessel plying raw materials from South America to Europe; it effectively cleared Customs in (cheaper) Anguilla rather than the EU, so Anguilla benefited, the merchants in South America and/or Europe benefited and the EU did not really lose because, while they took in less duty, there was less of a need to grant aid to Anguilla from their development budget. The money got spent on road improvements, computers at the schools, etc. A look at the 2000 budget strongly infers that it is premised on the transhipment programme returning soon. Otherwise, other taxes will have to go up or much needed expenditure cut back.
PROFILE OF BARONESS SCOTLAND
Baroness Scotland succeeded Baroness Liz Symons as the Minister responsible for the UKs handful of overseas possessions in 1999. It was felt at the time that Symons act would be a hard one to follow but it is now generally recognized that Scotland has succeeded. Colleagues in the House of Lords regard both Symons and Scotland as being "very able" and "model New Labour operators".
However their backgrounds could not be more different. Although, from her appearance and voice, Symons could easily be mistaken for a dyed-in-blue conservative, she is considered more left-wing than Scotland, being a (civil service) career trade unionist, who was made a working peeress in 1992.
Scotland has enjoyed a glittering legal career, having been appointed a QC at 35 and being appointed to the Bench of Middle Temple and made a judge 2 years later. Scotland has all of the qualifications of a "Blair babe" a glamorous working mother who is impeccably well connected, being close to two of Prime Minister Blairs confidants: Charles Falconer (Britains Solicitor General) and Derry Irvine (Lord Chancellor). Her appointment made history, as she is the UKs first black female government minister.
Part of her task is to sell the "White Paper", bequeathed to her by her predecessor. This will not necessarily be easy. The ambiguous document, in places reads more like a set of platitudes, or a holiday brochure than a serious set of parliamentary proposals. The trust that Symons built with the Overseas Territories will need to be kept, particularly in the light of Britains perceived preference to scale down their financial services.
Immediate responses to Scotlands appointment were mixed. A leading figure in Cayman expressed disquiet, calling it "politically cynical" and whinged that the islands would have to go through the whole trust-building process again. However, one of her colleagues in the House of Lords said that her diplomatic skills will earn her trust quickly.
Highlights of her impeccable CV include: Chair of HMG Caribbean Advisory Group; Member of the Bar of Antigua and Commonwealth of Dominica; Dominican Representative of the Council of British Commonwealth Ex-Services League; Member of the Lawyers Christian Fellowship; Member of the BBC World Service Consultative Group Lifeline (Trinidad & Tobago); Honorary Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, Member of The Millennium Commission; Patron of the Women and Childrens Welfare Fund. She has specialised in family and public law and has chaired and represented parties in a number of major inquiries relating to Child Abuse, Mental Health and Housing.
(Makes you wonder how she finds the time to go to the supermarket!).
JUNE, TOO SOON ?
These are the first words of a poem(?) which is well know in the Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard of the US. The rest goes:
It refers to the major months of the Hurricane Season. Last year "Lenny" obviously had not read the script and devastated much of the area in November. All the indications are that this will be an active Hurricane season and an early one. Expert Bill Gray forecasts seven hurricanes, three of which would be major. Already the first Hurricane formed alright, it was off the Mexican Pacific coast, but that only makes us relieved, not assured! Weather watchers have tracked tropical waves from Africa, crossing the southern Caribbean and have expressed some surprise that they did not develop further. The climatology this year has everything pointing towards more long-track storms, which would hit the islands and then intensify still further as they move through the warmer waters of the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, rather than curve into the Northern Atlantic, which has been the tendency for a few years now. On the ground, many people are installing hurricane shutters and keeping their fingers crossed. Anguilla is still reeling from a drought. Apart from a couple of showers this last week, there has been hardly any rainfall (I doubt if it would aggregate to an inch) since January. The water trucks are doing a roaring trade as peoples cisterns empty. Government water supply has been cut back to 75% due to unspecified problems at the desalination plant and this translates into rationing most of the island now being down to 2 days piped water per week. So we would certainly welcome quite a bit of rain now, and not in the form of a Hurricane later.
INITIATIVES AND STUFF
There have been more developments on the various initiatives from organisations such as the OECD and the first draft of the KPMG report (all 102 pages of it) was faxed(!) to Anguillas Financial Services Department last Friday. (The same fax machine also received the 80-page report for Montserrat, a territory which, like Turks & Caicos, has its interests in this matter represented by our own John Lawrence. Glad to see they had enough paper). At a recent Anguilla Financial Services Association AFSA Meeting, we were told some of the main points contained in it but the subject matter is very confidential for now (being only a first draft). All will be revealed before too long. Well look at some of the recent developments from the other initiatives in our next issue although some of the developments are reflected in the "Clippings" section below.
"HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE" SECTION
You may recall a report, in Issue 13 (Source: Tax-News.com, Date: Mar. 31, 2000) about a large international law enforcement project to fight fraud on the Internet. 150 organizations in 28 countries, including seven US federal agencies, 49 state and local consumer protection agencies and 39 Better Business Bureaux, have been sweeping the Internet in a co-ordinated fashion to try and flush out phoney get-rich-quick schemes. Well, a recent indignant newsletter from Roy Bouchier (of ITI Ltd., in The Bahamas) suggests that they may have overdone it. Let Roy tell you all about it .
Big Brother Bully Boy.
We received an extraordinary E-Mail the other day from a U.S. Government agency with the delightful address of email@example.com
The first paragraph of this read:
The italics are our own but the message is loud and clear - we are being accused of promoting "get rich quick" schemes. A review of our website, however cursory, would prove that not only do we actively warn people against such schemes but that we make no promotional claims for any investments whatsoever other than through recognised, registered and reputable brokerage companies. Now had we received this letter from anyone other than a U.S. Government Agency we would have had no scruples about passing the matter to our legal counsel to obtain redress and apology. At the very least it represents a tort if not libel since their E-Mail goes on to say that it has been disseminated to some 28 agencies in different countries - hardly the sort of advertising that we seek when the information is baseless.
We have protested to the faceless (and apparently clueless) bureaucrat, Mr. Getrichquick, but, since it is a U.S. Government Agency, who, as is well known, are above the laws of any land, we doubt we will receive a response let alone, Heaven forbid, an apology.
The author of this nonsense attempts to cover himself by admitting in paragraph three that:
"Although we have not yet determined that your website violates any consumer protection laws, we are sending this e-mail to remind you that earnings claims must be truthful and non-deceptive." However, you will recall from paragraph one that they have already accused us, point blank, of doing just that, promoting get rich quick schemes and making exaggerated claims of earning potential,- bureaucrats should really learn to write clearly and concisely if they are to stay out of trouble.
All this is, of course, arrogant nonsense designed to bully the offshore provider. Many deserve it, but since we have been attempting to expose the sort of schemes the mailing is designed to reach for over ten years with very little assistance from any official source, we take strong exception to being wrongfully accused. Clearly, no review of our site has taken place unless it were by a total imbecile (not impossible and highly probable in any government department) and the mail-out is a blanket affair launched at any offshore provider, legitimate or otherwise.
Britannia used to rule the waves but now the United States Government appears to have installed itself as the arbiter of all human destiny worldwide. This does raise an interesting point however. In our many years experience of dealing with offshore scams, we have found that the vast majority emanate from within the United States and are targeted at U.S. citizens. Perhaps that mighty agency should put its own house in order (after all it is the biggest money laundering centre in the world) prior to threatening others with the dire consequences of ignoring edicts from the Washington throne. This myopia is, of course, one reason that the slimmest book in the world is that of successful American foreign policy.
On a brighter note, from the E-mail we retrieved a list of all the 28 agencies that had contributed to or whom had been alerted to our alleged wrongdoing. These we have now listed on our website since they may be of value to our clients - thank you for something, Mr. Getrichquick. Being British, we note with trepidation that we are now on the "hit list" of the Milton Keynes Council Trading Standards Division, an authority well known for its ruthless pursuit of crime and extortion such as overcharging by news vendors, milkmen and the like!
CLIPPINGS FROM MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS
As is always the case, the following contains material which is courtesy of various publications (who also hold the Copyright) please contact them for subscriptions (if you cant locate them, well be happy to help):
The next 10 are courtesy of "Offshore Finance Canada" as well as the reporting agencies
EASTERN CARIBBEAN SECURITY EXCHANGE LEGISLATION COMING
(COMMENT: This draft legislation is also before the
Government of Anguilla. It has been reviewed by the Joint Government/AFSA Legislation
Committee who have declared it unacceptably shoddy in draftsmanship. It will not pass
without substantial amendment and so it is very doubtful that it would pass in the 8
territories before the July deadline).
(A related story on this further down)
G-8 TO CALL ON TAX HAVENS TO FIX TAXATION SYSTEMS
$50 MILLION IN FRAUD ASSETS TRACED TO BVI ACCOUNTS
MORE ON ABACHA .
Nigerian ex-dictator's stolen millions 'in British banks' by
Andrew Osborn in Brussels,
Hundreds of millions of dollars stolen by the late Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha and his entourage is stashed in bank accounts in London and Jersey, lawyers working for the Nigerian government claimed last week. Banks in Singapore, Hong Kong, Dubai, the United States, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Luxembourg are also involved.
The money is allegedly in accounts belonging to some of Abacha's family and friends, and some former members of his military government. It is thought to be part of an estimated $3.2bn systematically looted from Nigeria's central bank during the dictator's five-year rule.
Authorities in Switzerland froze about $685m worth of assets belonging to the Abacha entourage last year, and prosecutors in Luxembourg last week sequestered around $670m in eight separate bank accounts.
A lawyer acting for the Nigerian government has contacted the Home Office with a view to freezing suspect British bank accounts. The Nigerian government wants this money, estimated at more than $450m, returned along with any evidence that can be used against Abacha's entourage. More than a dozen UK-based banks, some international, are affected. Peter Hain, the Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Africa, has pledged British support in recovering the money.
Abacha took power in a military coup in 1993 after the newly elected Moshood Abiola was deposed by a rival general. He dissolved political parties, banned demonstrations and introduced strict media censorship.
A period of fierce repression followed, and in 1995 Abacha ordered the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the political activist who defied him, and seven other Ogonis. Nigeria was suspended from the Commonwealth. The general died of a heart attack in 1998.
"More than two and a half billion dollars was stolen as if from a cash register through a mixture of fraud, false contracts and commissions," said Enrico Monfrini, the lawyer acting on behalf of the Nigerian government. "There is more money out there than we will ever find.
"The longer we carry on the more we'll find. It's not just about money, it's symbolic. The government wants to show Nigerians and the world that Nigeria exists, and is fighting corruption with all its might."
Nigeria has already reclaimed about $845m worth of assets taken during Abacha's rule.
In a bizarre twist, Johnnie Cochran, the lawyer who defended O J Simpson during his murder trial, has been brought in by the Abacha entourage to help them retain the disputed funds.
This issue's "how to avoid being the victim of a scam" article: International Forex Ltd.involving William McCray. (All lifted a few weeks ago so may be updated since - from and courtesy of OPC, which holds the copyright and, like this newsletter, also hosts a newsletter at topica information below)
Investment Scam: International Forex Ltd.
Here's what one of (OPCs) subscribers wrote about this company:
Here is a note to warn of a large scam that has occurred, in America and Bermuda of all places. There is a company named International Forex Ltd., based in San Diego California and a branch in Bermuda for those that wish to be offshore. Their website is www.intl-forex.com . We have been trying to get our money out for four months now. We have sent emails, regular mail, faxes and called to this company and were totally ignored. Last week I finally got thru to the President and he told me they are Bankrupt and to speak to his Lawyer, the slicktalking President is named Mr. William McCray.
After speaking to their lawyers and the Creditors Lawyers we learned some interesting facts: they owe 19 million dollars US to creditors around the globe, the authorities found $50,000!! Mr. McCrays story is people were reimbursed without deducting commissions and other fees. They are under investigation now with the FBI and IRS there digging hard now. Their business is managed currency trading and they claim an internal audit is underway when in fact all activity is frozen by the government. The Creditor Committee Lawyer has said that people were still investing as little as 2-3 weeks ago.
The foregoing was taken from the web-site of OPC
International at http://offshoreprofit.com They also publish a weekly libertarian
newsletter, "Offshore & Privacy Secrets", which you can subscribe to at the