Monday, May 02, 2011

Private Eye on CDC, IoM, Cayman and the London Laundry

We're a few days late with this story, but it needs airing: Private Eye's exposé of some very shady dealings exposed in a London court. In summary:
Intercontinental Bank, recipient of £2m from CDC (Commonwealth Development Corporation; that is, the British taxpayer) in 2007 via private equity manager Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), was in the high court last month taking on its former boss Erastus Akingbola over £78m allegedly misappropriated from the bank two years ago, for which he faces charges in Nigeria.

Almost £10m of the funds were channelled into London properties through five separate companies, three owned by a Cayman Islands trust called the “Lifeboat settlement” and two by an Isle of Man trust called Octopus, the beneficiaries of which were Akingbola and his family.
We are sick to the back teeth of hearing from jurisdictions like Cayman and the Isle of Man that they are reputable jurisdictions, or, to use their preferred phraseology, 'transparent, co-operative and well-regulated' jurisdictions. These are very dirty places, and we must keep reminding them of this. (There is more on Mauritius here, too, which is spectacularly sleazy, as this latest story from India attests.) Then there's the CDC involvement: see more here on that.

Now, the London Dirty Laundry angle:
With evidence regularly emerging that London remains the destination of choice for loot plundered from the poorest countries, business secretary Vince Cable last month promised to “abolish over two dozen regulatory offences under money laundering regulations” for banks and lawyers as part of his “plan for growth”.
Now we are really starting to feel sick - yet again (that document Private Eye refers to is here).

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