The global attention that has focused upon the Cayman Islands, due to the disclosures appearing in the Paradise Papers scandal, is not the first time we have taken a close look at the situation in that Caribbean tax haven, and voiced our concerns. Our previous articles have detailed the risks involved when foreign investors place their assets in the Cayman Islands.
We have covered those issues in depth, but to summarize them:
(1) Cayman insiders have named at least a dozen cases, in which groups of investors have been defrauded or tricked, losing their entire investment, yet Cayman regulators and law enforcement agencies, while investigating those matters, ultimately failed to either arrest the perpetrators, or assist in the recovery of stolen funds. The negligence appears to be even more pronounced when the fraudsters are Cayman Islands residents. Apparently, the fear of a major scandal causes government there to fail to act, to the damage and detriment of the victims. If you do not believe this, try searching Cayman media for stories of local money laundering arrests; I doubt that you will be successful.
(2) While Cayman spin masters have been busy, since the Paradise Papers story broke, with damage control, discussing the virtues of local regulatory agencies, regarding Cayman corporations, many Cayman financial services professionals acquire BVI corporations for their clients, knowing that identification of the beneficial owners of such entities is ritually impossible. Their publicists tout the transparency of the jurisdiction, while their corporate formation specialists use the BVI or Belize to better hide client identities.
The fact that the Paradise Papers showed that, at least for the documents uncovered, compliance is ineffective or nonexistent in the Cayman Islands, is therefore no surprise.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant