Archive for September 18th, 2009

IRS clamping down on tax avoidance

| 18/09/2009 | 3 Comments

(Bloomberg): The Internal Revenue Service is moving to bolster enforcement of a 2004 law that bars companies from avoiding U.S. taxes by moving their headquarters offshore. The tax agency said in a notice that it has “become aware” of transactions designed to subvert a test that determines whether a company’s move offshore was for legitimate business reasons or just to avoid US taxes. The action is the IRS’s latest effort to stop practices that let US companies avoid taxes by establishing nominal headquarters in low-tax countries such Bermuda and the Cayman Islands while keeping their operational headquarters in the US.

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Croc sightings might be sunfish

| 18/09/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): A reported sighting of a pair of crocodiles swimming off Seven Mile Beach this morning could well have been two harmless ocean sunfish (like the one pictured left) that the Department of Environment (DoE) found offshore of the governor’s residence today. However, the DoE said officers will continue to investigate reported sightings of a crocodile in the vicinity of the Sundowner and White Sands condominiums as crocodiles do occasionally appearin the waters off the Cayman Islands. Crocodile sighting were also reported yesterday.

“After receiving a call this morning about another crocodile sighting on Seven Mile Beach, Chief Conservation Officer Mark Orr immediately checked out the details. However, on entering the water, he found two sunfish,” said DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie.

“A previous report of a crocodile in July this year off Seven Mile Beach was also later confirmed as a sunfish,” she said. “Two types of crocodiles are naturally found in the north-western Caribbean, namely the American and Cuban crocodile.

The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) has a wide range and can be found in Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and the Southern States. The Cuban crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is only found in south-western Cuba. However, skeletal remains found locally indicate that historically both species were naturally present in the Cayman Islands.

“Many crocodiles have a ‘wandering’ phase, in which young animals range far and wide in search of new habitat. The Cayman Islands falls within the natural range of both these species, therefore we should not be surprised at an occasional appearance off our shores,” Mrs. Ebanks-Petrie explained.

In Florida, some 500 – 1,200 American crocodiles thrive in the wild. To date there have been no recorded attacks by this species on humans in the United Stateswhere they are a protected species. In other countries, in most cases, when attacks by American Crocodiles do occur, the attack is directed towards a person who is trying to catch or harass the crocodile.

“For this reason, the DoE is adhering to the Florida Guidelines for dealing with American crocodiles. These recommend that when wandering individuals are located, they be left alone and not harassed. In most cases, they do move on, naturally and of their own accord,” she said.

The American crocodile is different from the American alligator which is larger and has an estimated population of 1-1.5 million in Florida alone. They are also very different from the large crocodiles found in Australia and Africa.

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CAL flight aborted after bird ingested in engine

| 18/09/2009 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A Cayman Airways flight heading for Jamaica ingested a bird in one of its engines during takeoff this morning and returned to the gate, the airline has said. The incident happened at approximately 7:00am while the aircraft for CAL flight KX604 to Kingston, Jamaica from Grand Cayman was still on the runway. As a safety measure, the captain discontinued the takeoff without further incident and returned to the gate, where the passengers were transferred to a different aircraft, which departed at 7:50am.

The affected aircraft has been removed from service to facilitate repairs, and no significant disruptions to the CAL flight schedule from this event are anticipated. A release from the airline said that Cayman Airways was committed to safety as the primary focus of its daily operations, and the airline extended apologies for any inconvenience caused to passengers from this event.

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UBS warns US clients IRS may get their data

| 18/09/2009 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): American clients of UBS AG (UBSN.VX) were formally warned by the bank that their undeclared income in Switzerland may be revealed to U.S. tax authorities, according to a letter obtained by Reuters on Friday. The Swiss bank, which agreed to hand over 4,450 account names to the U.S. government in August, told clients they have 20 days to appoint a lawyer in Switzerland, or be assigned one by the Swiss authorities, according to the letter, dated Sept. 10.

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Charge dropped in Dixon case

| 18/09/2009 | 25 Comments

(CNS): One of the two charges against Deputy Commissioner Rudolph Dixon brought by the Special Police Investigation Team (SPIT) has been dropped, leaving just one count of misconduct against the senior cop. Dixon’s trial, which is still set to start on 28 September, will now focus on an incident in 2004 where he has been accused of telling a police officer to release an individual from custody who had been charged with a drunk driving offence. The senior officer has persistently denied any misconduct on his part relating to either of the charges.

These were brought following his arrest by SPIT’s Senior Investigating Officer Martin Bridger and has said he looked forward to having his day in court and clearing his name.

The news comes only one week after the ‘not guilty’ verdict in the trial against Lyndon Martin and further discrediting of Bridger’s Operation Tempura investigation, which was first seriously questioned during the judicial review for Justice Alex Henderson when the judge’s arrest by Bridger was proven to be unlawful and Sir Peter Cresswell, the judge in that case, described Bridger’s investigation as a “gross abuse of the process”.

Dixon was first arrested by SPIT based on two counts of misconduct in a public office and two counts of doing an act tending and intended to pervert the course of public justice, relating to incidents that Dixon has claimed had been widely known. The charge that has now been dropped related to an arrest on 22 June 2003, when Dixon reportedly instructed Chief Inspector Reginald Branch of the Cayman Brac Police Station that it was the policy of the police not to prosecute for illegal gambling and to release two men who had been brought in for illegal gambling, and to give them back the cash and gambling registers which had been seized.

The second charge, which still remains at present, involves Dixon reportedly directing Inspector Burmon Scott of George Town Police Station (who has filed for damages regarding his arrest in connection with this case)  to release a man who was being held on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

At the time of the charges Bridger said they were “very serious” and that it was Attorney General Samuel Bulgin who had made the decision, basedon the evidence and the severity of the accusations, to bring the charges. Questions, however, still remain regarding the charges, which Bridger conceded at the time were common law offences, as to the actual legality of Dixon’s arrest.

Since that time, however, the entire Operation Tempura has been severely discredited and none of the arrests or charges linked to investigations undertaken by Bridger have stuck. Following the huge damages payout to Justice Henderson, coupled with costs of what now appears to be a failed investigation, has caused public outrage at Bridger and the Governor Stuart Jack for his persistent support of the SPIT SIO.

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Thieves should get a job says fed-up victim

| 18/09/2009 | 25 Comments

(CNS): One local resident is fighting crime in his own way after being robbed three times. 71 year old Alex Corda has printed a sign as a warning for all burglars to stay away from hisproperty. According to reports on news 27, Corda has also stuck a note on his car window warning would-be robbers away since, he says, everything has already been stolen. He says he has lived in Cayman for almost 30-years and the crime problem just keeps getting worse – so he had to take action. His message for thieves: “Get a job.”

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BAICO faces further action over pensions

| 18/09/2009 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Troubles mounted yesterday, for the beleaguered insurance firm British American Insurance Company (BAICO) when the National Pensions Office filed an order in the Grand court for the firm to supply overdue pension information. Following the appointment of two KPMG accountants, as controllers, by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), the acting superintendent of pensions has taken action under the law in a bid to protect pension assets administered by BAICO.

BAICO, which is understood to hold a considerable number of local employee pension policies, is required to provide important information, which is necessary for the office to properly regulate the registered multi-employer pension plan operated by BAICO in the Cayman Islands, within 30 days. The action takes the form on an Order, as provided by section 70 of the National Pensions Law (2000 Revision), and has become necessary as a result of the repeated failures of BAICO to provide this information when previously requested. 

The insurance firm must now hand over overdue audited financial statements, their annual information return and a detailed report of all contributions received by the pension plan from inception to the end of September 2009 to the pensions office.

The Superintendent’s Order, which was served on BAICO on the 15 September, has been filed in Grand Court which means that it carries the weight of an order of the Court and is enforceable as such. 

“The National Pensions Office is working closely with CIMA in an effort to best protect these pension assets and the Acting Superintendent of Pensions has already met with the BAICO Controller to emphasise the importance of the information requested,” the office said in a statement.  “The National Pensions Board has been briefed by the Acting Superintendent and together the Acting Superintendent and the National Pensions Board are closely monitoring the situation in order to assess whether additional action is necessary under the National Pensions Law (2000 Revision) to protect pension assets.

BAICO is not allowed to engage new business following the issuance of a cease and desist order by CIMA on 29 June but is permitted to continue to receive pension contributions from existing members of its registered pension plan. 

The pension’s office said however there are alternative pension options available. “There are five other multi-employer pension plans operating in the Cayman Islands, all of which are registered with the National Pensions Office,” the office stated.

 Information on registered multi-employer pension plans in the Cayman Islands may be obtained from the National Pensions Office’s web-site at, or by calling the Office on 945-8960.


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Witnesses recall bloody scene

| 18/09/2009 | 4 Comments

(CNS): The first witnesses called to give evidence in the trial of Jose Carillo-Perez (left) for the murder of Martin Gareau described a bloody and shocking scene when they found their cousin’s body lying in pool of blood in his Beach Bay home. The Crown counsel Trevor Ward opened the prosecution’s case explaining that there were no eye witnesses to the “gruesome” and “violent” crime but fingerprints, a foot impression and circumstantial evidence which would, when taken together, point to the defendant as the murderer. (Photo courtesy of News 27).

The witness testimony began on Wednesday morning, following the judge’s decision not to exclude the fingerprint expert witness, despite defence counsel’s lengthy submissions.

The first witness to testify was Gareau’s cousin and employer Gilles Langlois, who explained how Gareau was first missed on the Sunday before his body was found on Tuesday 20 May. Langlois said he was due to come to a BBQ celebration to mark a number of family members’ birthdays around the same time, including that of Gareau. Langlois told the court how he rang him several times on the Sunday evening to see where he was but Gareau did not answer. He then tried again on the Monday, which was a public holiday, but still got no reply. Langlois explained how very concerned he became when Gareau didn’t show up for work on the Tuesday as he was usually very dependable.

Langlois said he called his brother, who lives close to Gareau, and asked him to visit the house to see if he could find him and then got in his own truck and headed out toward Beach Bay. He told the court how, as he was driving there, his brother Guy had called him back a few minutes later. “He said, you better get over here quick there is blood everywhere.”

Langlois said after that call he hung up and called 911. Arriving at Gareau’s house, Langlois said he was followed by the emergency services and a police car. Then he explained that he, his brother and the one police officer who had arrived went into the residence, which was a one-bed apartment above a garage area. He described a very bloody scene with blood on the floor, walls and stairway. Langlois said he began to climb the stairs towards the living area above the garage when he caught sight of his cousin’s body in a pool of blood on the garage floor by his car. He told the court how shocking and distressing the discovery was to both himself and his brother.

Guy Langlois, Gilles’ brother and the second witness, described how he had arrived at Gareau’s house first and had found the door open, which he said was unusual as Gareau always locked his door. He explained how he taken one step inside and seen the blood and a bottle of rum at the bottom of the stairs and stepped back outside as he knew then that something horrible must have happened. Guy Langlois said he waited for his brother to arrive and confirmed how the two of them and the police officer entered the bloody scene and found Gareau’s body covered in blood, lying in a pool of dried blood.

The police officer, Bill McLaughlin, also confirmed the evidence given by the Langlois brothers and told the court how his first reaction was that Gareau had been shot in the head because of the amount of blood around the head of the body when he approached it.

During cross examination of Gareau’s cousins by defence counsel Anthony Akiwumi, the witnesses both described Gareau as a friendly, jovial and affable person. They said he had come to Canada in the wake of a long drawn out divorce and developed a number of friendships with people and close relationships with women. They confirmed that before his death he was “courting” or pursuing a woman by the name of Maria from the Dominican Republic who worked at Singh’s Roti shop — a place where Gareau and his cousins and friends would regularly socialise for happy hour on Fridays. Both brothers, when asked by defence counsel, denied having any knowledge about Maria having another boyfriend.

Guy Langlois also revealed that he learned after his cousin’s death that Gareau knew the defendant and that Langlois had in fact seen Perez sitting with Gareau in a group of people on the Friday evening before he was murdered.

Guy Langlois also confirmed that, during the police investigation, both he and his brothers had given samples for DNA and had been fingerprinted, but noneof them were asked to provide a foot impression. He also confirmed that when he and Gilles as well as the police officer had first walked through the scene none of them were wearing protective clothing. 

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