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Monday, September 23, 2019

ANOTHER NBD OFFSHORE ACCOUNT- THIS TIME IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS


In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King “We shall overcome because Carlisle is right “No lie can live forever, we shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right ,Truth Crush to earth will rise again. We shall overcome because James Russel Lowell is right Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne –yet that scaffold sways the future.”

A few weeks ago we reported that the National Bank of Dominica (NBD) had been identified in the Panama papers as a corporation with an offshore account set up in Panama. The leaked documents show that the NBD Corporation was domiciled in Barbados by the Law Firm of George Payne.George Payne is a politician and sitting minister in the Mia Mortley government of Barbados.

Since the wider public was apprised of this suspicious NBD account in Panama neither the NBD management nor the government of Dominica who own more than 50 percent of the bank have come forward to explain why there is a secret account in Panama under the name of the National Bank of Dominica. With the total silence on the matter we can only assume that the government is way too busy trying to account for the stray passport revenue of $1.2 Billion or is may be  just another way of telling us that it is none of our darn business.

Just when we think that the extent of corruption could not be any worse, we are realizing that there was another account set up in the name of National Bank of Dominica, not in Panama but in the Cayman Islands.

According to the Paradise Papers declaration, on December 29, 2006 an account in name of National Bank of Dominica (Pension & Retirement Services) was set up by law firm named Appleby. Appleby is headquartered in Bermuda with operations in the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, Jersey, Seychelles and more jurisdictions.

Like the Panama Papers, The Paradise Papers are a set of leaked documents providing a close up view of how politicians, celebrities and other rich individuals use shell company tactics for illegal purposes including fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.  In the case of the Panama Papers the leaked documents came from the Corporate Service provider and law firm Mossack Fornseca however in the case of the Paradise Papers the leaked documents came from a law firm named Appleby together with offshore service providers Estera and Asciati Trust and other business registries in 19 tax jurisdictions. Estera for example has over 550 employees and operates in 11 jurisdictions. Asciati Trust also provides international trust and corporate services but throughout Asia, Central America and the Pacific.

The address for the National Bank of Dominica (Pension & Retirement Services) as shown in the Appleby leaked document is 64 Hillsborough Street, Roseau Dominica. The shell company structure indicates an Entity named Pension Support Fund Limited with the National Bank Of Dominica as a Shareholder as well. Even Appleby itself is named as a shareholder. Other shareholders include offshore service providers such as ,Gravitas Capital, Mapcal Limited, Maples Finance Limited, Mourant Cayman Corporate Ltd. It is important to note that the shell company schemes are based on masking the true identities of the account holders and so the shareholders as shown in the shell company structure are almost always sketchy. For example in the case of the National Bank Of Dominica account in Panama the web was created using Dominicans who were on the board of directors for the NBD and as we noted these board members may have been totally unaware this offshore arrangement.  

The Journey Into Abyss of Corruption Started in 2004

As we continue to go through the investigative reports by the International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) we notice that all of the shady offshore compilations related to Dominica began from 2004, right after Roosevelt Skerrit became the prime minister. For example The NBD account in Panama was set up in 2010 and the Cayman island account in 2006.

Between 2004 and 2006 we also notice that a number of other offshore accounts were set up by the PM’s attorney and accountant Stephen Isidore. In some cases the accounts were set up using what is referred to as “Bearers Shares” tactics. According to international investigators Bearer Shares provide the deepest levels of secrecy in the offshore finance industry as the tactic does not register the identity of the owner and it does not provide for tracking the transfer of ownership. As a matter of fact many countries have outlawed Bearer Shares because the tactic provides deep cover and facility for money laundering and tax evasion.

Stephen Isidor Email  
It was around 2006 when evidence of massive money laundering activities were seen taking place from the office of Stephen Isidore ,the  Prime Minister Skerrit’s attorney and personal account handler at the time. We saw evidence of thousands of pounds being wired to a young lady in England on behalf of Roosevelt Skerrit; thousands of US dollars wired to Carmel Waldron a cousin of Roosevelt Skerrit in the New York area. It was also around the same time that Stephen Isidore was seen handling the financial account for the construction of the Prime Minister’s 8 villa project in Savane Pailles area near Portsmouth.The question still remains - Where did Skerrit who came into office like a "vere Tere " /earth worm get the money from? 

In an email sent September 14, 2004 to one Rene Arciga, Stephen Isidore on behalf of his boss PM Skerrit is offering French National Rene Arciga a diplomatic Passport for the price of US $2 Million. Even in the face of this critical evidence apologists and co-beneficiaries of Roosevelt Skerrit banditry and corruption came out to attack those who denounce the selling of our diplomatic passports. Click the attached email for legibility

By 2006, two years into the leadership of Roosevelt Skerrit we were having serious concerns that Dominica had already descended into the abyss of corruption and so we established contacts with a few international investigators –journalists and financial crime investigators. By 2012 we received information on a few offshore accounts amounting to over US $64 Million and these accounts were all identified with the government of Dominica. According to the source of the information these accounts were just what they were able to locate at the time. We have redacted some of the account information for privacy purposes.
Banks
Acc #
 USD Millions
Year
HSBC
9.2
CREDIT SUISSE
20
8/7/2007
CREDIT SUISSE
0512.XXXX655
7.6
HSBC
867XXXX192
2
12/14/2011
UBS
3.35
ZURICH
BANK FREY
Z017.XXXX.258
4.82
7/18/2009
BANK FREY
GN10XXXX 8244
3.1
2010
UBS
GN158XXXX748
14.6
2010
         Total
64.67

While the opposition forces are focused on the missing $1.2 Billion from the last budget many people are beginning to realize that this missing $1.2 Billion is just the tip of the iceberg. It must therefore be the priority of the next government administration to insure that we get to the bottom of the iceberg and not just retrieve the hidden loot but to prosecute all the thieves and vagabonds that have violated our people and country.

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