Watson denies helping Webb launder cash

| 22/01/2016
Cayman News Service

Jeffrey Webb

(CNS): Canover Watson accepted under cross-examination in the CarePay corruption trial that he helped Jeffrey Webb, his friend and business partner, to create false documents to send to a US bank but denied helping him to launder money. Going through more documents recovered from Watson’s computers and flash drives, prosecutor Patrick Moran pressed him repeatedly to reveal the exact role he was playing in the deceptions that Webb appeared to be creating around cash coming and going from various bank accounts.

Watson accepted that he had been party to the creation of a false employment contract for Webb that showed him working at AIS Cayman Ltd from 2008, more than two years before the firm which won the lucrative hospital contract was formed, earning a salary of $15,000 per month. The false contract also indicated that Webb received a bonus of over $300,000, that he worked from offices in Fairbanks Road for his boss Josclyn Morgan (who, Watson has already admitted, was “fronting” for Webb) and included a name, telephone number and email address of a false contact.

However, Watson, the former chair of the Health Services Authority Board, said he was just doing what Webb had asked. When Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Moran suggested it was “highly inappropriate, not to mention criminal”, Watson acknowledged it was inappropriate but denied assisting Webb in laundering money.

However, the false employment contract and cover letter found on Watson’s computer and emailed to Webb was destined for Wells Fargo, where Webb was believed to be organising a mortgage to pay for his Atlanta home. In the end, this was financed by public funds via AIS Cayman Ltd and what the crown claims were kickbacks to Webb and to Watson as well.

Watson was vague about how the employment contract and other false documents were created. He implied that Webb would frequently turn up at his office at Admiral, sit down at his computer and use it to create and save documents in Watson’s folders and flash drives. Webb would then ask Watson to send them to him or other people. Watson said he could not be certain about the details but he reluctantly admitted that he did have a hand in the false contract and cover letter, though he insisted he was unaware of the full details.

He was also unable to recall the exact details of how a narrative and an accounts reconciliation setting out a false history for AIS came about but continued to point the finger at his partner Webb for that, too.

The complex web of documents the crown continued to put before Watson Thursday showed money originating from the AIS contract with the HSA moving from to and from various businesses and accounts associated directly with Webb.

Money came and went from Black Holdings Ltd, the company owned by Peter Campbell, a friend of both Watson and Webb and vice president of the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) at the time, which secured the contract for the CIFA football pitch. Transfers also came and went from JD International, the firm owned by Webb and Jack Warner, his CONCACAF colleague who is also deeply embroiled in the FIFA scandal.

As more and more of what appeared to be an incriminating paper trail was placed before Watson, the more he implied he could not recall details of how things came about but insisted all of it was at the direction of Webb. Watson said he did it all as a favour and was given no kickbacks or financial incentives, and any money he received from AIS via any other circuitous route was because of cash Webb owed him for one reason or another.

Watson also insisted his continued immersion in the day-to-day details of AIS were purely down to the desperate need to keep the CarePay contract on track.

The case continues.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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