Archive for December 2nd, 2009

Scammers sell travel deals bought on stolen cards

| 02/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The Financial Crimes Unit of the RCIPS has said that it has received reports of more scams from which local people have fallen prey. The public is being warned that a con-artist is offering package travel deals, primarily to Jamaica, and has taken cash from individuals for tickets which they are told are bought on line. In reality, the tickets were purchased using fraudulent means. The FCU said the scam where the recipients believe they have a genuine ticket and travel itinerary is because the criminals have used the credit cards details of customers from various banks around the world.

Police did not say if the scammers are stealing cards or using the method of identity theft to buythe travel tickets they then sell on to their victims. Anyone who suspects that they may have been a victim of this scam or who has recently paid cash to a third party for flights, other than a bona fide travel agency or airline is asked to contact DC Richard Clarke at the Financial Crimes Unit on 9498797.

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Court hears details of Schirn crime scene

| 02/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The RCIPS scenes of crime officer who examined the scene where Sabrina Schirn’s body was found as well as the abandoned vehicle she was last seen to be driving submitted around one hundred pieces of evidence to the court on Tuesday, from condom wrappers to machetes. As the trial of Randy Martin for the murder of the 21-year-old Schirn reached into its second week, Zoan Marin, who took evidence from the murder scene, the car and the prison farm in East End, told the court that she and a fellow officer had walked and timed the various distance associated with the crime scenes.

Marin said that it took around seven minutes from where the car was abandoned to the orange grove at Wilderness Farm, the prison agricultural facility where the defendant was working on the day the prosecution believe Schirn was killed. She said that walking at a brisk pace it took around six minutes to reach the tomato patch from the orange grove where Martin was reportedly weeding during the morning of 11 March.

Walking from there back to where the car was discovered, Marin said, was around nine minutes. She then explained to the court that the drive from the area near where the body was found to the lane where the car was found was around a minute, but the rocky trail down to where the car was eventually discovered was rough and rocky terrain making it difficult driving, which she said took another three minutes.

The geography of the prison farm in relation to the crime scenes forms an important part of the prosecution’s case, and the judge, Justice Charles Quin, said he believed it would be beneficial to visit the area to gain a better understanding of the distances between the locations and the type of terrain. Justice Quinn said that it would be useful if Marincould accompany the court trip, which would include the defence, prosecution and court staff.

During her testimony, which lasted for the best part of the day, Marin listed many of the items she had seized during the examination, as well as the finger prints she had lifted and blood swabs taken for DNA analysis. She said she also took into evidence two machetes and a cell phone from the prison farm, plus Martin’s clothes. She said she had sealed and sent a white marina top belonging to Martin for DNA analysis but there was no mention of a grey marina that prison officer Dehany had said Martin was wearing on 11 March.

Marin took the court through the two crime scenes, searches in the surrounding areas, and the farm itself, as well as the various discoveries, such as a prison issue glove, the keys to the car Schirn was driving, a pendant, pieces of a BlackBerry phone and its battery scattered around the area, and around a half dozen different condom wrappers that were found in the area around the body.

She explained that when she came upon the murder scene she saw that the body, which was in an advanced state of decomposition, was lying on her back with one leg bent up behind. She said the body was clothed in a bra, a denim skirt and stripped panties and a blue blouse was found several feet away in an abandoned shed as well as a pair of black slippers. As well as taking prints and swabs from the area she said she had photographed and recorded a shoe impression by the shed.

During the day’s testimony the court also heard from Prison Officer Marlon Hudson, who is in charge of security at the prison. He confirmed he had received a call from Dehany on 11 March when he suspected that Martin was up to something and wanted to shut down the farm. He said he was off duty that day she he did not know if the shut-down ever happened. He also testifiedthat a few days later he had received another call from Dehany who said he needed to meet with him urgently.

Hudson explained he was in a joint intelligence unit meeting that day but eventually managed to get away to go meet Dehany but he said he was delayed in traffic and reached the Bodden Town meeting a little later after Dwight Scott, the director of prisons had already arrived. It was here that Dehany had allegedly handed over the mobile phone that he had found on the prison farm a few days after the incident with Martin on the 11 March.

Asked about why his number may have been on cell phone discovered at the prison farm in 2008 that was being used by the defendant, Martin, he said he did not know as he had not given it to him but that his cell number was not a secret.

The trial continues on Wednesday morning with testimony from the prosecution’s DNA expert witness.

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Cayman’s Selita on Victoria’s Secret runway

| 02/12/2009 | 19 Comments

(CaribWorldNews): The Caribbean was last night again represented in the popular Victoria`s Secret fashion show as Cayman Islands-born model, Selita Ebanks, took the runway. Ebanks was one of only two black models to grace the catwalk of the annual show but showed elegance and sex appeal as always. She was all the rage in a sequined and feathered white corset top and matching panties as a purple train flowed behind her on the catwalk in a design that definitely showed her regal good looks. Ebanks also looked like a well wrapped Christmas present early on in the show as she rocked a white body hugging corset lingerie wrapped in gold trim.

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Rush hour armed robbery

| 02/12/2009 | 51 Comments

(CNS): Updated Wednesday2:00pm — Masked robbers stole a money bag belonging to Tortuga Rum Company from a couple inside a car in the area of Courts Road, George Town, on Tuesday evening at about 6:15pm. Sources have told CNS that the bag contained approximately $3,100 in takings from the company. The 37-year-old man and a 31-year-old woman were trying to reverse the car after dropping off a friend at Springfield Courts before heading towards Tortuga to drop off the money bags, when the two masked men opened the doors and pointed a silver object at them that they believed was a gun, told them not to move and demanded cash.

Their friend, who was outside the car, realized what was happening and screamed. A neighbour called 911 and gave police the license number of the vehicle that the men left in, and they were last seen making off from the scene in what is believed to be a silver Nissan motor vehicle.

No-one was injured as a result of the incident. One of the men responsible is described as being around 6-foot in height, skinny build wearing a long-sleeved dark shirt and a black mask. The second was said to be 5-foot 8-inches in height, slim build, wearing a white t-shirt and a white mask.


Anyone who has any information should call George Town CID on 949 -4222, or Crime Stoppers 800-8477 (TIPS).

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Duty increases ‘soon come’

| 02/12/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): Shoppers will only have a few weeks to make the most of the current customs duty rate before it is increases by a further 2% on most items — a 10% hike in real terms. With the country’s politicians set to return to the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday morning to deal with the legislation required to meet the fee increases set out in the 2009/10 budget, it appears most of the changes will take effect in January 2010. Along with the increase on import duty, members will also debate the bill to introduce a fee on money transfers, as well as a number of other new bills to raise fees on various business transactions.

The increases were set out in the government’s budget, which was passed in the House in October, and collectively they are expected to generate an extra $94 million over the revenue that the Cayman Islands government hopes to raise in this financial year.

One area that government has yet to tackle, but one that is expected to bring in a significant portion — more than 10% — of the $94 million, is an increase to work permit fees. These fees which are likely to hit local business hard are expected to go up by at least 50% and more in other cases, such as fees in the professional sector, which could double. So far, government has not revealed the new fees for specific job categories. It could be that government will not need to bring these fee changes to the LA and it could make the changes directly through Cabinet.

During the budget debate Premier McKeeva Bush said the increase to permit fees would be offset by allowing private businesses to opt out of the compulsory five percent pension contribution for their employees’ pensions, but details of this proposal have not yet been revealed.

Increases to bank and trust licences as well as insurance company licences have already been passed in the LA in recent weeks, along with fees on funds and security investment companies. Although government said it had consulted widely with local business before introducing the various fee increases, with the goal of balancing the budget, a number of organisations from the Society of Estate Practitioners as well as a number of larger private firms have voiced their concerns and objections as they have said the fee increases could drive away business during an already difficult time for the offshore sector.

However, the CIG says that it was left with no choice; it was either raise fees and balance the budget that way or be forced by the UK to introduce direct taxation. Bush has also committed to undertake two reviews, one of the country’s revenue sources and public expenditures and one on the civil service. While the UK is demanding that Cayman find a more sustainable revenue source, preferably direct taxes, the premier has said he is committed to filling the government coffers through direct private investment and growing the country’s economy rather than through direct taxation.

“Let us get revenue from investment and not from taxes,” Bush has said on more than one occasion recently.

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Job losses at Citi Hedge fund and Rothschild pulls out

| 02/12/2009 | 36 Comments

(CNS): After more than 35 years in the Cayman Islands, Citi Hedge Fund Services (Cayman) Ltd is cutting some 22 jobs from its local office. The company has been in Cayman since 1973 and has, according to reports on Cayman 27, denied that the current cut to staff  means it is exiting the islands altogether. Rothschild Trust, which has had a presence in the Cayman Islands for more than 25 years, has also announced it is closing its office and will be transfering the work to the rest of its network around the world.

"Our decision is based on our continued drive to provide an exceptional level of service to clients and to improve operational efficiency,” David McLellan, group chief executive officer of Rothschild Trust, told Wealth Bulletin. The closure represents the loss of one job for Cayman as one trust assistant has been made redundant.

Meanwhile at Citi, a spokesperson said that it would retain a presence in Cayman, but it must cut costs and increase operating efficiencies. 

The job losses at Citi come in the wake of similar size cuts in the workforce at legal firm Walkers last month. Walkers said that its job losses came as a result of the impact on the global economic crisis on its clients and a need to restructure the company worldwide.

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Tax planners hold get together in Cayman

| 02/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Tax experts from all four corners of the globe will be converging on Cayman this weekend for two full days of tax talk with the meeting of the International Tax Planning Association – the first of its kind in the Cayman Islands. Local speakers include Timothy Ridley, Nicholas Butcher, Justin Appleyard and Andrew Miller, providing visitor with an overview of the specially attractive offshore facilities on offer and a revision course for local guests. The conference takes place at the Ritz-Carlton 6-8 December

The point of view of United States and Latin-American taxpayers will be examined by Florida attorneys Rahul Ranadive and Steven L Cantor. The well-known lecturer and international tax specialist Marshall Langer plans to discusses how the IRS gets information from Caribbean jurisdictions, and Milton Grundy, the President of the Association, concludes the meeting with a talk on tax-saving opportunities as well as the tax pitfalls for the Cayman company or trust engaged in making investments or doing business abroad.

Members of the ITPA will be coming from Anguilla, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, St. Lucia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Proceedings begin with a reception at the Ritz Carlton at 6.30pm on Sunday.


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International names to boost local conference

| 02/12/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A local law firm will be bringing some international names to the Cayman Islands in the New Year at the Stuarts annual fund conference. The guest speaker for the first William Walker Memorial Presentation is Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, who will be talking about US imperialism and its effect on international affairs. Professor Andrew Morriss of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois, Dr Richard Rahn and Dan Mitchell of the CATO institute, who will speak on US Regulation and Legislation, will add to the international line up.

Others include Joe Field, International Partner with Withers Hong Kong, who will look at international tax developments and implications; an  examination of US, EU & UK regulatory perspectives by Stephen Ball, Partner with Bryan Cave, London. and John A. Brunjes, Partner with Bracewell & Giuliani; and a review of new developments in international corruption and asset recovery by Professor Mark Vlasic of Georgetown University’s Institute for International Law & Politics.

Local names adding to the conference include the CIMA chairman and former financial secretary, George McCarthy, who will deliver the opening address, as well as Timothy Ridley, former chairman of the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA), Information Commissioner Jennifer Dilbert, Auditor General Dan Duguay, Complaints Commisssioner Nicola Williams, and Head of Litigation at Stuarts Attorneys, Anthony Akiwumi.

The 2010 conference will also feature panel discussions on topics including, Transparency in the Public Sector; Cayman Islands Regulatory Developments; and Transparency in the Private Sector.

The conference ‘Global Transparency – Meeting the Challenge’ will take place on 14 January, 2010 at the Ritz Carlton,

“The International Funds Conference has built a strong reputation within the industry on the foundations of its relevant content and very high calibre of speakers,” said Stuarts Managing Director, Andrew Hersant. “Our aim is to foster continued dialogue within the industry through our international funds conference, in order to enhance understanding between onshore practitioners and their offshore counterparts based in the Cayman Islands.”

The 2010 conference will mark the first year of The William Walker Memorial Presentation (WWMP). Walker, a well-recognised and influential pioneer in the Cayman Islands’ financial industry, was the founder of Stuarts Attorneys.

The 3rd International Funds Conference 2010 is being supported by insolvency specialists, Krys & Associates, with a cocktail reception immediately following the conference being sponsored by RBC Wealth Management and Cayman Finance.  Cayman Free Press is the conference media sponsor. Conference host Stuarts is a client-oriented legal practice offering a full range of corporate and commercial legal advice. They have a proven track-record in advising leading international law firms, investment managers, investment companies and high-net-worth individuals. For more information on the International Funds Conference, or to register to attend, visit

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