News from Anguilla
Please feel free to contribute to, reply to, comment on or (Heaven forbid) correct any item in these newsletters. Send an e-mail to: email@example.com Your input will be discretely disseminated.Our North American readers will observe that today is/was 2-20-2000; so may you all have 20-20 vision (figuratively, at least)!
A couple of items arising from the last issue, prompted by comments received:
(1) Yes, we will consider asking any court to throw out any request for assistance received from/on behalf of U.S. fiscal authorities on the grounds that those authorities are illegally constituted (and therefore have no legal existence, so cannot make any application to a court in Anguilla) as is the legislation passed! This may be effective; it might not ..
(2) Ohio was not a legally recognised state when the Constitutional Amendment was allegedly passed. Congress accepted the constitution of the state of Ohio on 19 February, 1803; however, statehood was not ratified until 1953. (And they say things happen slowly in the islands!?!)
Latest News from Anguilla....
Following on from Sonesta Hotel, Covecastles has now re-opened after hurricane "Lenny". For a list of what's open and what (still) remains closed, please send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
On the political front:
1. It was Nomination Day on Friday. Prospective candidates therefore registered themselves at The House of Assembly, having been relieved of their EC$1,000 deposit which they had left at the Treasury. As in the UK system, the deposit is refundable depending on a candidate's percentage of votes cast. Each candidate had to be proposed and seconded by a voter resident in the district and these two names/signatures required a witness. If there were only one Candidate for any district nominated by 4.00 p.m. on Friday, that person would have been declared the elected candidate there and then. Unfortunately for the politically weary and happily for the proponents of democracy or change, each district will be contested. As you may know, Anguilla's political parties have hardly been riven ideologically (a fashion which has caught on, in recent years in places like the US and UK!). However, in so far as some can get on with their contemporaries better than others, here is a table of the nominees (which those who visit the island regularly will recognise), based roughly on the left-right seating in the French National Assembly (this may need to be re-tabulated on receipt):
As you can see there are lots of possibilities here, although it is worth noting that the only possibility of the present government being effectively returned to power would be in a coalition with one or more successful Independents.
(2) Despite calls for tolerance from the (influential) Anguilla Christian Council, requests to "stick to the issues" by some in the media, and appeals to avoid character assassination by others, the Candidates are well into the swing of things now and are, on the whole, scrapping it out in the sewers. Although the U.S. media makes a big thing of Presidential Candidates' negative campaigning, those candidates would be horrified if they were subject to anything like the abuse that West Indian candidates routinely dish out. (Locally, this is the best kept secret apart from Pokemon). However, as we are becoming more civilised, the Anguillian politicians are becoming more sophisticated. A few years ago, in The House of Assembly, Eric Reid floored our present Chief Minister with a well placed punch. Nowadays, on the other hand, Victor Banks' lawyer has published a letter written to the Chief Minister threatening legal action for (alleged) defamation, and Victor himself has written to the Anguilla Bar Association asking them to report his former lawyer ? and now political opponent ? John Benjamin (President of The Bar Association) to the Ethics Committee for (alleged) breach of client/attorney privilege, relative to remarks made by Benjamin at the hustings.
And the wonderful thing is that we have two more weeks of increasing vitriol before it's over. This will be followed (possibly) by a period of feverish activity if a coalition needed to be formed and certainly by the proclamation of a national holiday/day of deliverance. Within a week, if there were a change of guard then, as is customary, there will be an announcement by the new Minister of Finance of "the deplorable state of the island's finances, and that things are much worse than we were ever lead to believe". Regardless of who wins, it is likely that the House of Assembly would be convened as a matter of urgency; much needs to be done in that area.
And then, of course, we have Royalty coming soon, too, in the form of Prince Andrew.
Raising the profile
A local reader has forwarded these recent items in the U.K broadsheets on Anguilla: both are copyright. Readers are recommended to subscribe to this publication if they wish to see more of the same.
THE INDEPENDENT: IT MAY LOOK LIKE PARADISE BUT IF YOU ARE GOVERNOR THEN IT'S HARD WORK. HONEST IT'S A TOTAL NIGHTMARE IF YOU ARE THE GOVERNOR (The Independent - United Kingdom, Jan 29, 2000, 499 words)ROBERT HARRIS did not enjoy his time in the Caribbean. It was a waste of time, he said as he flew out.
On Friday 18 February, viewers of the US network, ABC, would have seen a "virtual vacation" at Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla, interspersed with their shots of Time Square. Their breakfast programme featured live shots of (supposed) holidaymakers limin' on the beach etc.
The following material is courtesy of OFFSHORE ROUND-UP: An OFC publication (which also holds the Copyright 1999) ' please contact "Offshore Canada" for subscriptions:
HEDGE FUND IMITATORS PROVIDE SUPERIOR RETURNS
Source: Financial Times
Investing in hedge funds is no longer the sole domain of the very wealthy. An expanding number of 'enhanced' mutual funds are using strategies pioneered by hedge funds to offer investors the best of both worlds; superior returns in both bull and bear markets typical of hedge funds combined with the stricter regulatory characteristics of regular mutual funds.
The catalyst for the creation of these funds was a 1997 decision by the IRS to allow mutual funds to generate more of their gross income from short sales or from stock held for less than three months. As a result, mutual funds can now use many of the specialised hedge fund investing techniques such as leverage, the purchase of options and warrants and short selling.
Such methods, although risky, provide the potential for higher returns.
Research by Professor Matthias Becker of St. Gallen University in Switzerland suggests that hedge funds produce long term returns of 17-20 percent, compared to nominal equity returns of 10 percent for most mutual funds. They also allow astute managers to build portfolios that have a low correlation with the wider stock market. This is an excellent method of diversification that can help protect a portfolio in a bear market.
PRIVACY LEGISLATION COULD CURB SPAMMERS
Source: National Post
Spammers who send bulk, unsolicited e-mail to Canadians could be out of business under the federal government's proposed privacy legislation.
Bill C-6, now before the (Canadian) House of Commons, will make spamming illegal because the law "will prohibit the collection of personal information that can identify an individual," according to John Gustafson, president of the Canadian Marketing Association.
This won't stop spammers located outside the country, unless the law in their own jurisdiction makes spamming illegal also. Some spammers, especially Internet pornography companies, are using new technologies such as HTML-based e-mails to send intrusive graphical images which can appear on a computer screen just by highlighting the message in the queue.
Although Internet providers and users can try to block unwanted e-mails, spammers often find a way to get through.
The bill requires organizations to identify the purposes for which they plan to use personal information and to limit the use of that information for those purposes only.
Online marketers are worried that sweeping government legislation could inadvertently restrain e-commerce.
On to our scams section (same magazine):
BCSC EXPOSES PRIME BANK INSTRUMENT SCHEME
Source: National Post
The British Columbia Securities Commission has uncovered a fraudulent investment scheme whereby investors were promised returns of up to 10,000 percent. As a result, the BCSC has issued cease trade orders against Corporate Express Inc., a Bahamas-registered company with headquarters in Surrey, B.C.
According to the commission, Corporate Express, along with affiliates Corporate Express Club, Fortress International Ltd., Great American Gold ltd. and Offshore Knowledge Network, were involved in a "prime bank instrument scheme."
This type of scheme lures gullible investors by promising them their money will be placed in hidden offshore accounts where large, established banks secretly trade bank documents. No such market exists, but investors often believe the promises of incredible returns that are kept secret from tax collectors. The Paris-based commercial crime bureau of the International Chamber of Commerce estimates $10 million (US) is dropped into similar schemes in North America every day.
SWISS FREEZE ACCOUNTS OF LATE NIGERIAN DICTATOR
Source: National Post
The Swiss Government has frozen $550 million in bank accounts belonging to the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, his family members and entourage as part of a money-laundering investigation.
The discovery of the money indicates that Swiss banks are having compliance problems with a new money-laundering law that took effect in April, 1998.
The investigation could result in the return of the money to Nigeria, whose current elected government has accused Abacha and his associates of systematically plundering $2.2 billion from the Nigerian central bank during his four years in power.
Although Swiss officials insist that the banks always take vigorous steps to weed out money laundering, a series of high profile cases indicates possible problems. Famous cases of Swiss bank clients probed for money laundering include the brother of former Mexican president Carlos Salinas, Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Ukraine's former prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko and Zaire's late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
MORE FRAUD NEWS; THIS FROM THE FINANCIAL TIMES (COPYRIGHT)
$7bn laundered through BoNY By Thomas Catan in New York - 17 Feb
A former employee of the Bank of New York and her Husband have admitted laundering at least $7bn through the bank, much of it for Russian nationals hoping to evade customs duties and taxes. In a New York federal court, Lucy Edwards and Peter Berlin pleaded guilty to a range of offences.
They included setting up a branch of a foreign bank without regulatory permission, operating an illegal wire transfer business, fraudulently obtaining visas, bribing an official, evading US taxes, accepting illicit payments and laundering them offshore.The confessions represented a major break in the case, described as the largest ever money laundering investigation.
Until now, the couple were charged only with the relatively minor offence of operating an illegal money transfer business.The Russian-born couple surrendered to the FBI in a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday, after flying in from London. Federal prosecutors are likely to use their co-operation to secure further convictions. An FBI director said that "much remains to be done".
Reports that they would admit they had bribed a BoNY official had sparked speculation that the conduct of the bank could again be questioned. But on Wednesday it emerged the employee in question was Svetlana Kudryavstev, a junior employee dismissed last September. The couple said they paid Ms Kudryavstev $500 a month to ensure the transfer business ran smoothly after they moved to London. Prosecutors have already charged her with lying to the FBI.
According to the couple, the scheme began in late 1995, when Ms Edwards was approached by members of Russia's Depozitarno-Kliringovy Bank (DKB) to set up the accounts at the BoNY. She was working as a vice-president at the bank's eastern European division, and along with her husband was able to set up an account under the name Benex International in early 1996. Later that year, officers at DKB asked the couple to open a second account, which they did under the name BECS International. In autumn 1999, they said they would be acquiring control of Flamingo Bank, and would need a third account, which was set up under the name Lowland Inc.The couple said they received $1.8m in commissions, transferred to offshore accounts to evade US taxes.
To prove money laundering charges, prosecutors must show the funds were the proceeds of illegal activity. They said the accounts had been used to facilitate criminal activities, including paying a ransom to kidnappers of a Russian businessman. The couple agreed to forfeit more than $1m in proceeds, a brokerage account and their London residence. The US has also seized $6m held in BoNY accounts.
You may start seeing some advertising on this newsletter starting next week. This will be a service/initiative of "Topica", the hosting outfit. Hopefully they will be useful and tasteful. If there are any/enough objections I'll ask Topica to take them down; the decision is effectively yours.
Speaking of advertising, the web page of C.E.G. is being redesigned and rebuilt. Check it out at http://www.ceg.ai (there are other addresses and I'll provide them next time round when I find them!). It is being done (for consideration received) by Sombrero Information Services, one of the best website designers in the Universe. They can be contacted at Corporate@sombrero.ai. Availability is limited though, for all sorts of reasons, so if they cannot immediately help you, be patient and get in line. The wait will be worth it; meantime, shun impostors and upstarts!