Archive for March, 2015

Stay-over tourism numbers soar

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The Cayman Islands continue the record-breaking trend into 2015 when it comes to stay-over guests in the jurisdiction. In what tourism officials are expecting to be the best year yet, so far the islands have welcomed a total of 70,164 people in air arrivals for the month of January and February combined. A 7.6% increase when compared to the same 2 months this time in 2014.

According to Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell, “These results are even more significant when you consider that January and February 2014 were the highest for any January or February on record. The Cayman Islands is regarded as a premier destination of choice, which is evidenced not just by our growing numbers but by the accolades we have received in 2014.”

Director of Tourism Rosa Harris said, “The growth in arrival figures is an encouraging kick start to 2015 and highlights the proactive steps that have been taken such as working closely with industry partners on robust marketing plans, are certainly paying dividends.”

While a total of 344, 828 cruise passengers visited the Cayman Islands in the same time period, the Department of Tourism is forecasting over 1.7 million passengers by the end of the year.

Cruise passenger arrivals for the month of January showed a 7% growth over the number of passengers Grand Cayman greeted in 2014. However, the month of February took a hit when six cruise ships had to keep sailing past the Cayman Islands due to bad weather, which led to a slight decline in cruise arrivals by 3.64% as compared with February 2014. Although, Minister Kirkconnell is confident the tourism industry can make up that loss throughout the year.

Cayman on US money laundering list

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

The United States Government published its “2015 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report” on March 18, and the Cayman Islands is on the list.

According to the report, in the Cayman Islands, “most money laundering is primarily related to fraud and drug trafficking”. Report says that “Due to its status as a zero-tax regime, the Cayman Islands is also considered attractive to those seeking to evade taxes in their home jurisdictions.”

The report acknowledges the Cayman Islands as a well-developed offshore financial centre that provides a range of services, but also urges the Cayman Island’s Government to pay greater attention to risks and better supervise all non-profit sectors, which the report said, “is at a risk of being used to launder fraud and drug related acquired money.”

Besides the Cayman Islands, other 6 Caribbean countries find themselves on the US “Major Money Laundering List for 2015”. They are Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The report from the US State Department focuses on financial crimes and money laundering issues throughout the world, naming 65 countries in all. In accordance with the list, major money laundering countries in 2014 were as follows:
Afghanistan,
Antigua and Barbuda,
Argentina,
Australia,
Austria,
Bahamas,
Belize,
Bolivia,
Brazil,
British Virgin Islands,
Burma,
Cambodia,
Canada,
Cayman Islands,
China,
Colombia,
Costa Rica,
Curacao,
Cyprus,
Dominican Republic,
France,
Germany,
Greece,
Guatemala,
Guernsey,
Guinea-Bissau,
Haiti,
Hong Kong,
India,
Indonesia,
Iran,
Iraq,
Isle of Man,
Israel,
Italy,
Japan,
Jersey,
Kenya,
Latvia,
Lebanon,
Liechtenstein,
Luxembourg,
Macau,
Mexico,
Netherlands,
Nigeria,
Pakistan,
Panama,
Paraguay,
Philippines,
Russia,
Singapore,
Somalia,
Spain,
St. Maarten,
Switzerland,
Taiwan,
Thailand,
Turkey,
Ukraine,
UAE
UK
USA,
Uruguay,
Venezuela,
West Bank and Gaza,
Zimbabwe.

The US defines a major money laundering country as a jurisdiction “whose financial institutions engage in currency transactions involving significant amounts of proceeds from international narcotics trafficking”.

Cayman voted best hedge fund services jurisdiction

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

The Cayman Islands is now the preferred place for doing business, after being voted the Best Hedge Fund Services Jurisdiction at the 2015 Hedge Global Awards in London.

According to the Minister of Financial Services Wayne Panton, this is a great jurisdictional achievement, founded on the historically strong relationship between government and the financial services industry.

Hedgeweek is the largest online news publisher serving the investment and wealth managers market. Cayman Finance CEO, Jude Scott, said that he was delighted with Cayman’s award win. He explained that “this is the first time Hedgeweek included this category into their awards, so I am thrilled Cayman is the very first recipient”.

The award was collected on February 27 by Mark Lewis, a Cayman Finance board member.

CIMA denies naming wrong Caledonian beneficial owners

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA) has stated that it is “well aware of the various parties in the ownership structure of the Caledonian group”, to deny claims by the Miami-based watchdog, OffshoreAlert, that CIMA had named the wrong beneficial owner in the liquidation petition.

Meanwhile, liquidators are looking for a buyer for the bank which has got huge problems after US authorities filed suit over a USD 75 million penny stock scam. Although job losses at the bank are expected, Keiran Hutchison and Claire Loebell of EY, who were appointed controllers by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority and then confirmed as liquidators by the Grand Court, have begun the process of seeking the best way to protect the bank’s assets.

In a statement at the weekend they said they are reviewing the Caledonian bank and Caledonian securities operations taking into consideration the best interests of all stakeholders, including creditors, deposit holders and employees.

Concerns that CIMA had filed incorrect details about the ultimate owners of the bank were raised by OffshoreAlert last week, when they said a Curacao-based attorney Gordon Casey was not the beneficial owner, despite the court filings by CIMA. The website claimed that Casey denied being the bank’s real owner, pointing to a Canadian Terry Duffy, the head of Lionhart Advisors Group Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-domiciled, Toronto-based operator of hedge funds.

CIMA had described Caledonian Bank as 100% owned by Caledonian Global Financial Services, which was in turn is 100% owned by New World Star Trust, a Cayman Islands domiciled company for which Sentinel Trust Services Ltd acts as Trustee. According to the regulators, Sentinel is also domiciled in the Cayman Islands and that is owned by Blackbriar Holdings Inc., a Cayman Islands domiciled company whose directors are Marta Miraglia and Gordon Casey, with Casey owning 100% interest in Blackbriar.