Archive for October 22nd, 2010

Charges against Swiss bank dismissed by US

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): The US Justice Department dismissed a landmark criminal case against USB that had prompted the bank to admit it helped Americans evade taxes. Prosecutors said on Friday that Zurich-based UBS, the largest Swiss bank, complied with an 18-month agreement signed in February 2009 to defer prosecution on a charge of conspiring to defraud the U.S. by helping 17,000 Americans hide accounts from the Internal Revenue Service. As part of the agreement, UBS paid $780 million, admitted fostering tax evasion from 2000 to 2007 and handed over account data on more than 250 U.S. clients, piercing the veil of Swiss bank secrecy.

UBS later turned over information on 4,450 more accounts. Prosecutors said UBS honored its pledge to end its cross-border business and cooperate with the government. “The United States agreed that if UBS AG fully complied with all of its obligations,” the case would be dismissed, Justice Department lawyers said in a motion in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “The United State believes that dismissal is appropriate.”

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Hit and run victim dies

| 22/10/2010 | 38 Comments

(CNS): An incident that went unreported by the police at the time, in June this year, has now resulted in the death of a 59-year-old hit and run victim, The RCIPS eventually made the incident known to the public on 12 August, more than six weeks after the incident, when officers from the Traffic Department said that Mike Allen Jervis was hit on 27 June in the early hours and received serious head injuries. On Friday 22 October, the RCIPS said that the victim, who has been in hospital since being found at the side of the road, died yesterday. They said that around 3.20am on Sunday 27 June, a man was found badly injured in Eastern Avenue, George Town, close to the Cayman Shoe Shop.

The man was lying on the sidewalk beside hisbicycle. The man was conveyed to the George Town Hospital suffering from serious head injuries. He has been detained in hospital since that date and it has now been confirmed that he passed away yesterday, Thursday 21 October.

In August police said they had information from one witness, who said he saw two cars travelling on Eastern Avenue and heard a collision but was not sure which car hit the man on the bike. Police recovered a left side wing mirror at the scene, which they say belonged to a green Honda Sabre.

Police told News 27 in August that if anyone has seen a car like this with a missing mirror or knows anything about what happened that night to come forward and call PC Harris 946 6254. The victim was seriously injured in this hit and run and police say he is unable to speak to them.

Following the man’s death yesterday, police said that to date no vehicle has been traced, and no witnesses have come forward to assist in the enquiry. Officers from the RCIPS Traffic Department are renewing their appeal for witnesses and anyone who has any information regarding the incident is asked to contact them on 946-6254.
 

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Richard expected to become hurricane this weekend

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Although Richard poses no immediate threat to the Cayman Islands the local weather services and Cayman Islands hazard management are continuing to keep watch on the movement of the storm which the NHC in Miami says will become a hurricane this weekend. Tropical Storm Richard is expected to intensify later today as it continues its westward movement which the centre says is likely to increase in speed from its current 3mph. At 1pm on Friday afternoon Richard was located around 215 miles south of Grand Cayman and was still bringing cloudy conditions and periods of widely scattered showers.

Richard has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts and tropical storm winds extend outward for over 100 miles. The CINWS said it will continue to monitor the progress of this storm and all interests within the Cayman Islands should continue to monitor the local media for the latest information on this system.

The Cayman area can expect continued cloudy skies with periods of widely scattered showers today and tonight, cloudy rainy weather tomorrow. Some showers will be locally heavy. Additionally moderate southeast winds are expected to continue today and tonight, fresh east-northeast winds and rough seas tomorrow. Swells are expected to affect the south and east coast of the Cayman Islands, especially this morning and evening.

The outlook is form more cloudy rainy weather, fresh to strong winds and rough seas through Sunday morning as westward moving Tropical Storm Richard strengthens and passes north of the Bay Islands.

Meanwhile, two other weather systems are moving across the Atlantic one of which has a very low chance of become a tropical cyclone and the other a medium, or 40%.

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Cayman’s AML ‘most rigorous’ in world says AG

| 22/10/2010 | 32 Comments

(CNS): With the recent strengthening of financial crime legislation with Proceeds of Crime Law, as well as the introduction of the Anti-Corruption Law, the attorney general has said the Cayman government is continually reinforcing its commitment to fighting financial crime. Samuel Bulgin described Cayman’s anti-money laundering and combating financial terrorism (AML/CFT) regime as “one of the most rigorous in the world” during a presentation at last week’s Global Compliance Solutions Annual Conference at the Grand Cayman Marriott. The AG pointed out that compliance and solid regulation was a vital part of the country’s financial success.

Explaining how the Cayman Islands’ AML/CFT enforcement regime operates through a partnership of institutions and authorities, including the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority, the Financial Reporting Authority (a member of the Egmont Group), the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police, the MLAT Central Authority, Customs and the Attorney General’s Chambers, he said the network had been built, brick by brick, over time to not only ensure compliance with international standards, but effective enforcement.

“The Cayman Islands Government recognises the compliance industry’s vital role in supporting our jurisdiction’s AML/CFT regimes through the application of statutory requirements for fitness and probity to a full range of financial services sector participants covered by the regulatory regime,” Bulgin told the conference audience. “This includes adherence to the Money Laundering Regulations under the Proceeds of Crime Law which impose comprehensive statutory AML/CFT obligations on relevant financial business in relation to customer due diligence measures, recordkeeping, systems of internal control and suspicious activity reporting; and training.”

He said the broad coverage was unique to Cayman’s approach as it encompassed sectors not commonly regulated in many jurisdictions, such as trust service providers, fund administration, company service providers and money transmitters. The AG said he believed the comprehensive approach had contributed to the financial services sector’s ability to continue to evolve with the changing global markets.

“The presence – rather than the absence – of a strong legal and regulatory framework is a key driver of commercial success,” Bulgin stated. “In a number of respects, the anti-money laundering regime in the Cayman Islands has outpaced international standards….in the breadth of activity coverage; in the undertaking of retrospective due diligence on all clients existing prior to the implementation in 2000 of upgraded AML legislation; the breadth of the statutory obligation to report suspicious activity under the AML legislation; and the immobilization of bearer shares.”

However, he revealed that since 2003, there have only been five successful prosecutions for money laundering in the Cayman Islands, the last almost four years ago in December 2006. He said charges in the five cases had ranged from advance fee fraud, theft, frauds and conspiracy to defraud. Prison sentences ranged from 12 months to 5 years and fines levied ranged from $6,000 to $1 million. Forfeiture amounts have ranged from CI$143,000 to US$500,000 against two of the defendants. (It is not clear why the recent prosecution of Robert Girvan was not cited by the AG during his address.)

“These types of results are achieved through continuous investment and reinforcement in the legal and regulatory frameworks which seek to deter and ultimately prevent financial crime,” the AG added. “In fact, with the most recent consolidation and strengthening of financial crime legislation into the far-reaching Proceeds of Crime Law, as well as the introduction of the Anti-Corruption Law, Cayman’s AML/CFT regime is one of the most rigorous in the world.”

The Anti-Corruption Law which took effect on 1 January is the latest piece of legislation dealing with prevention of corruption, criminalization of bribery and international cooperation. It forms the basis on which the UN Convention on Corruption can be extended by the UK and ensures Cayman can implement the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

The AG also pointed to the evaluations by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force, which he said validated the strength and stability of the Cayman Islands AML/CFT regimes.

“We are working towards preparations for a fourth-round CFTAF evaluation expected in 2012. These evaluations also provide a useful third-party ‘health-check,’ as constant vigilance and regular review of enforcement measures is required to combat the increasing complexity of financial crime,” Bulgin said.

As incoming Chair of CFTAF, the Cayman Islands is tasked with carrying forward the work programme for the organisation over the next year and ensuring that members adhere to strict anti-money laundering standards.

“The Cayman Islands government will be continuing to make the necessary investments and improvements to our AML/CFT regimes for the future. This is particularly important as international standards are under the microscope in the context of ‘lessons learned’ from the global financial crisis,” the country’s top attorney told the conference as he closed up his presentation.

“As a jurisdiction, we believe that the strength and stability of the Cayman Islands through a period of significant upheaval in the financial markets, coupled with the best-in-class regimes we have built and which have been tested both by standard setters and in practice place, make us uniquely qualified to take an active role in helping shape future standards,” he said adding that Cayman looked forward to providing the compliance community with continued updates on the progress.
 

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Google reduces overseas tax rate down to only 2.3%

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): Google has cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda. Google’s income shifting — involving strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” — helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory findings in six countries. “It’s remarkable that Google’s effective rate is that low,” said Martin Sullivan, a tax economist who formerly worked for the US Treasury Department. “We know this company operates throughout the world mostly in high-tax countries where the average corporate rate is well over 20 percent.”

The U.S. corporate income-tax rate is 35 percent. In the U.K., Google’s second-biggest market by revenue, it’s 28 percent. Google, the owner of the world’s most popular search engine, uses a strategy that has gained favor among such companies as Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The method takes advantage of Irish tax law to legally shuttle profits into and out of subsidiaries there, largely escaping the country’s 12.5 percent income tax.

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Fashionable new hedge funds may not make money

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(Reuters): Investors in a fashionable new breed of EU-regulated hedge fund portfolios could end up being frustrated by hidden costs and restricted strategies that mean returns fall short of those delivered by unregulated peers. Clients have flocked to UCITS-compliant hedge funds, or ‘Newcits’, amid predictions they will steal market share from offshore rivals still recovering from a financial crisis slump which has left them looking a poor bet. Assets in Newcits have doubled to $90 billion in the last year and growth is accelerating, while assets in funds of hedge funds have stalled at around $500 billion after falling by almost a third during the financial crisis.

Regulated funds have strict liquidity requirements, leverage limits and clear asset prices. That makes them attractive to retail investors seeking a cheap and supposedly safe entry point into hedge funds, but restricts diversification and squeezes returns, specialists said. "They’re not going to blow up, they’re just not going to make any money," said Richard Travia of $1.1 billion invest management firm Tradex, which manages a fund of funds.

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Shetty to star at health forum

| 22/10/2010 | 28 Comments

(CNS): The renowned Indian doctor who has proposed building a $2 billion healthcare city in the Cayman Islands will be appearing at a special health conference here next month. According to the agenda posted on the website, Dr Devi Shetty will deliver the opening address at the islands’ first ever national health care conference being organised by the health ministry. The famous surgeon will present an assessment of the global healthcare industry and the challenges and opportunities it presents for the Cayman Islands. The doctor signed an agreement with the Cayman government in April of this year but there have been no further developments on the project since then.

Dr Shetty’s proposal is to build a 2,000-bed speciality tertiary hospital in the Cayman Islands. The Naryana Cayman University Medical Centre will include a medical school and assisted living to attract patients who are either uninsured or under-insured. The doctor has said such a facility would price procedures at least 50 percent lower than in the US. Government in turn has said the facility would also offer low cost tertiary healthcare to Caymanians as well as boost the local economy.

The project has been broadly, if cautiously, welcomed in the community as providing a real possibility of the elusive third pillar for the local economy of medical tourism. However, six months after signing the agreement with government no location has yet been publicly identified for the potential health city and there has been growing speculation recently that the hospital project is being stalled as a result of administrative hurdles that it may not be able to overcome. Dr Shetty’s appearance at the government sponsored conference will give a boost to those supporting the project that it could still be on track.

The Healthcare 20/20 conference at the Ritz-Carlton is scheduled for the 11 to 13 November and is expected to bring together leading local and international experts in the healthcare field, the health minister has said. He added that it marks the start of the ministry’s efforts to create a comprehensive healthcare policy in the Cayman Islands for the next five years.

“I hope that this open forum will facilitate knowledge-sharing and productive discussions that will lead us to sustainable healthcare solutions. The future of health is everyone’s business, simply because good health matters! I therefore extend an invitation to all residents, healthcare and insurance providers and business owners to join us for this landmark event,” Scotland said.

So far speakers include Dr Christine Goeschel, an international expert in patient safety and quality who is a clinical instructor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and associate faculty in the School of Public Health. She is also senior adviser to the World Health Organisation‘s Patient Safety Program, contributing to the development, implementation and evaluation of efforts to improve healthcare quality on a global scale.

“We are fortunate to have Dr Goeschel as one of our presenters,” the minister said. “The level of international representation with our local presenters will provide varied perspective on various aspects of healthcare as we seek to create an effective national healthcare policy which takes into account international trends, viewpoints, evidence and research whilst balancing that with the unique issues of the Cayman Islands.”

Subtitled “Envisioning the future … creating a national vision for innovation, transformation and delivery of sustainable quality healthcare in the Cayman Islands”, the gathering will include insurance companies, healthcare professionals, patients, regulators, not-for-profit organisations and the private sector.

More than a dozen local and international organizations — including Tenet Healthcare Corporation, the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, Tower Marketing, Baptist Health, Deloitte, the Naryana Cayman University Hospital, The Pan American Health Organisation and the Medical Protection Society — have already agreed to sponsor the event, anticipated to attract more than 200 participants.

Visit www.healthcareconference.ky for more details.
 

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Board to rethink wine shop

| 22/10/2010 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Jacque Scott’s proposed new West Bay store took a step closer towards becoming a reality on Thursday following a court direction to the Liquor Licensing Board to reconsider its refusal to grant a change of location licence to the fine wine merchant. Following a successful application to get the board’s decision quashed last month, the liquor retailers and the board were back in court to hear how it should now proceed. After hearing arguments from the Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the board for a new hearing and arguments for a direction to the board to grant the licence from Maples on behalf of Jacques Scott, the chief justice ordered it to reconsider its refusal based only on the information which was before it in April when it declined the license.

Peter Dutton, the CEO of the local wine merchants, said he was delighted with the judge’s ruling, as his legal team had argued from the very beginning of the judicial review that, if the board was directed to reconsider the decision based on the original information, it could not refuse the license.

The original refusal had been based on concerns over traffic congestion, that the district was already well serviced by liquor stores and that adding to the numbers could add to the anti-social crime problems that were affecting the neighbourhood.

Jacques Scott argued heavily throughout the judicial review that the plan was for an upmarket flagship store in a small retail development next to Fosters Republix that would in no way add to the crime in the area but enhance the existing commercial plaza.

The shop, Jacques Scott argued, would be a luxury kitchen and dining store as well as a fine wine dealer, based on the same model as the store in the Country Side shopping village in Savannah. It would be open during normal daytime shopping hours and not until 10pm, as other liquor stores in West Bay were, and it would have full time security staff and would not, unlike local package stores, sell single units of alcohol.

The merchants had said the refusal based on traffic was irrelevant as that was a matter that would be addressed with the Central Planning Authority when the planning application was made, which could not be until a provisional liquor license was granted.

The wine dealers also dismissed the idea that West Bay was “well serviced”. Although there are four small liquor stores in the district, there are no fine wine dealers; the nearest is in Governors Square. Jacques Scott had also argued that per head of population it was one of the least served districts in the entire Cayman Islands.

The Liquor Licensing Board cannot refuse a license based on competition and Chief Justice Anthony Smellie raised his concerns in open court that the board’s conclusion that the area was well serviced moved into the area of economic consideration, which was outside its remit.

In a supplementary affidavit from the board, Deputy Chair Noel Williams, who had presided over the deliberations, asked for a rehearing in which more submissions could be canvassed from people who had objected by petition. A petition is not the correct way to object and therefore it had not been considered at the time and the board wanted to give them a fair chance to object individually, Williams had stated.

The chief justice, however, noted during the arguments that the applicant also had to be given a fair chance and that the proper opportunity for anyone to object had been provided.

With no evidence of objections from the commissioner of police, the chief justice said he could see no evidence that the store would lead to issues of public disorder or traffic problems. He also noted that the board appeared to have applied a new and different test that was not within its remit and strayed into economic considerations when it suggested that the district was already well serviced and the store would be better placed elsewhere on the island.

The board will now be required to reconsider Jacques Scott’s application for a change of location licence within a relatively short period based on the evidence presented to it in April and will not be permitted to canvas any new submission or objections before coming to a new decision.

Dutton said he was hopeful that in its reconsideration the board would now grant the license, since the entire project, which will include a number of other retail outlets, is dependent on the granting of a conditional license. He said the small development would bring a welcome commercial boost to the area during its construction, even before it opens.

Describing the store as completely different to the existing small retailers in the area, Dutton claimed in his original application that it would not be in direct competition to them and hoped it would offer a new service to the people of West Bay.

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Rock for Haiti this weekend

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A free concert is planned for tomorrow night, Saturday 23 October, from 1pm to midnight on the Brick House patio by the Oar House at Grand Harbour, with the proceeds going towards helping a group of volunteers travel to Haiti to participate in a home building operation with Irish charity, Haven. Rocktoberfest will be the biggest event organized by Team Cayman for Haiti, which has hosted a series of fundraisers for the trip to our troubled Caribbean neighbour. Team member Taura Ebanks says they are getting ready for a fun day and night of musical talent, tasty jerk chicken and some cold local Caybrew.

$5.00 raffle tickets will be on sale throughout the night for over 20 prizes, including a Rainmaker, a green & energy efficient water generator, Sean Paul tickets or even a ‘staycation’ from Cayman Villas and Villas of the Galleon. If people are feeling really lucky they try riding Rosco the Mechanical Bull for a little more excitement. Organisers say Paramount has taken the lead on radio promotions for this event and listeners can stay tuned on their Spin and Vibe radio stations for more details on Saturday’s Rocktoberfest.

Fundraising for ‘Build It Week’ has reached the minimum goal of $4100 plus dollars for each volunteer to participate in the ‘Build It Week’ with the Haven organisation, but Team Cayman for Haiti is continuing its fundraising to further support the Haven’s “Build it Week”, in which volunteers build houses for the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Haven describes itself as “an Irish non governmental, non political, non religious organisation working to build sustainable communities, through the provision of housing, and emergency relief and by implementing community development programmes in Haiti”.

Team Cayman for Haiti was formed just a little over three months ago by a small group of locals working in different departments of Butterfield. Since then they have held a number of fundraising events.

‘Sports for Kids’ half day camps on the Camana Bay Sports Field enabled kids in Cayman to put their skills to the test with football, basketball and even Gaelic football. The Digicel tents, Quench juices and H20 water kept the kids hydrated energised, while Team Cayman for Haiti volunteers gave it 100% to make it a great day.

The traditional game of Bingo took a modern twist with prizes provided by a number of local restaurants and shops, and with hosts like Ben Maxwell and Jason Howard, players were always at the ready to shout “Bingo” and claim the grand prize of a Apple product supplied by Digicel or a Plasma TV from A.L. Thompson’s. Both the iBingo & eBingo nights at the Dog House were considered a huge success.

Bakers pulled an all nighter of mixing, baking and frosting to supply cakes, cookies and cupcakes for the ‘Bake It sale’ on Saturday, 4 October, outside Book Nook and inside the Butterfield retail at Governor’s Square.

At the ‘Corporate Kicks’ event The Meastros, BDO, Maples, KLE Electric, KPMG, and Digicel all went head to head in their group games battling it out for the final spots in the Cup and Plaque finals. Inthe Plaque final, Butterfield got the better of depleted Maples side by a 2-0 margin. In the Cup final arguably the two strongest teams of the day came head to head: Security Center versus Centre Spot. After 20 minutes of continuous attack, Security Centre came out the winners by a 3-1 margin.

Team Cayman for Haiti member Kathryn Walsh said, “We have just met the minimum amount needed for our team to go to ‘Build It Week’ and will continue our fundraising to further support the Haven organization.’”

Rocktoberfest is the final kick off event, just before the team leaves to go build homes in Haiti and the team says they are grateful to the numerous volunteers, companies and organisations for what has made this team’s goal a success in their first step in building hope for Haiti, one home at a time.

For more information on Team Cayman for Haiti, Rocktoberfest or to buy a raffle ticket please visit the group page ‘Team Cayman for Haiti on Facebook’ or e-mail cayman4haiti@gmail.com

 

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Deadline looms for 10Ten10 photo competition

| 22/10/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Young people ages 5 to 18 can still enter the 10Ten10 photo competition, but they must submit their photos with a completed entry form by Sunday, 31 October. The photo competition has been jointly sponsored by the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise, The Rotary Club of Cayman Brac, the National Trust, and the National Gallery. The theme of this nature-based youth photo competition is "A Day in the Life of the Cayman Islands" and the competitors are young people in three age ranges: 5 to 9 years, 10 to 14 years, and 15 to 18 years.

The photo categories for judging will be Water, Pets/Animals, Floral, Still Life, Lines, Close-Up, and Reflections.

Entry forms are still available by e-mailing sending an e-mail to 10ten10@RotarySunrise.ky. Young people are welcome to use their own digital cameras to shoot pictures for this competition. However, all entries must be digital photographs—no film submissions will be accepted. All photos must be e-mailed by 31 October to 10ten10@RotarySunrise.ky.

Prizes will be awarded to the winning submissions in each of the age groups and photo categories. The top prize for the overall winner of each age group is a state-of-the-art Nikon digital camera (3 cameras in all). iTunes gift cards and cinema tickets valued at $50 will be offered to the winner of each category in each age group (7 categories and 3 age groups, for a total of 21 prizes).

For further details about the 10Ten10 photo competition, you may send an e-mail to 10ten10@RotarySunrise.ky.

Rotary Sunrise was chartered in 2002 and has members who are mostly young professionals from Cayman and 24 other countries. They have fun contributing to the Cayman community and meet for breakfast at 7am on Wednesdays at the Grand Old House.
 

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