The exposure of a "sponsored news story" about the purported arrest in China, of a senior officer of a prominent CBI real estate developer, as a total fabrication, once more confirms that there are powerful, albeit hidden, forces in the East Caribbean, devoted to the pursuit of a hidden financial agenda. That agenda is to divert potential affluent foreign investors from certain CBI programs, and toward others where the hidden forces have a large financial stake in increased sales.
What happened recently in the news has been traced back to a dodgy businessman, formerly from one of the East Caribbean states but now living in the United States, who allegedly sought to place "fake news" in several Caribbean media. One online website published the information, without confirming the story, leading others to blindly follow, assuming, incorrectly and negligently, that it was true and correct; Big mistake.
This is but one example of how news management forces in the Caribbean seek to mould public opinion against one or more CBI jurisdictions, while cleverly leaving out the ones it can most benefit from so that CBI applicants are being steered and directed to the "clean" alternatives championed by certain parties.
How are CBI applicants subtly pushed in one direction, meaning one jurisdiction, over others? Let us cite some obvious ploys:
(1) financially supporting what appear to be objective online news services, when in truth and in fact, they are heavily weighted with pro-articles, concerning one jurisdiction, and negative news about their competition.
(2) Placing what are referred to as Opinion pieces, or Commentary, of content, slanted against certain CBI jurisdictions, on news sites.
(3) The placement of "sponsored" content, often paying well for the privilege. Warning: that content may not be labelled as such. These often puff pieces, extolling the virtues of one country; This may occur on strictly local media sites, where advertising revenues can influence the content, as well regional, commercial news and information services.
(4) The use of surveys, forums, and non-profit industry groups that are little more than shills, and other so-called objective yardsticks, showing one CBI jurisdiction as head and shoulders above another. All negative information, concerning the one which is being the subject of the advocacy, is suppressed or glossed over.
So, who is doing all this, spending a lot of money to fill any search engine results with one entry after another, faithfully pushing an agenda designed solely to hawk one jurisdiction as the best choice? We cannot say, as the evidence is not sufficient to prove who is behind it, in as the court of law. Our best guess:
(A) An international CBI consultancy, who wishes to direct market shares from CBI jurisdictions where it does not have a favourable position, to one where it enjoys a major share of profits, in its commission structure, or
(B) Certain financially flush senior government officials, at a specific state where they themselves have a lucrative, although probably covert, means of "profit sharing," and who simply want much more of the same.
Frankly, it could even be a joint venture between (A) and (B); whoever it is, the news management efforts have made an accurate assessment of the truth of information on Caribbean news websites problematic at best, and to be avoided for any compliance enhanced due diligence, as well as risk management purposes. Consider the "news" from these resources to be either deliberately disinformation, or sugar-coated, either of which renders them unsatisfactory as news sources.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant