New offshore cops seize $200M dodgy cash

| 08/02/2021 | 40 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chief Inspector Richard Barrow

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations (CIBFI), a new law enforcement arm focused on investigating crime in the offshore sector, has seized US$200 million as part of a number of live investigations into money laundering and terrorist financing. The fledgling agency is still under development and was created to meet international demands for Cayman to play a more proactive part in fighting global financial crime.

The money has been seized through court orders as the various investigations proceed. RCIPS Chief Inspector Richard Barrow from the bureau said in a press release that the money was from several ongoing international investigations.

“It has been frozen by the jurisdiction as part of the investigative process. At present, the Bureau is involved in several active investigations, a small number of which relate to the potential financing of terrorism,” he added.

The National Coordinator for the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG), Elisabeth Lees, explained that while the bureau is still in its infancy, working with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions it has has already secured restraint orders, which are proven tools to prevent the dissipation of assets by money launderers.

“The team is essential for the Cayman Islands as we seek to ensure that we are investigating and prosecuting criminal cases in line with our risk profile and international standards,” she said.

The team of eleven experts includes specialists with experience in Cayman, the UK, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Sweden after an international recruitment campaign to find accredited financial investigators, police and civilian professionals and financial analysts, as well as a specialist investigator in cryptocurrency transactions.

Officials said personnel numbers are expected to grow this year as the Bureau develops and undertakes increasingly complex and sophisticated investigations. The newly appointed Head of the Bureau, Victoria Templeman, who appears to have been recruited to the new agency from the UK Home Office, said she is committed to developing the unit into a global centre for excellence.

“The Cayman Islands Bureau of Financial Investigations is a vital partner to agencies and entities such as INTERPOL and EUROPOL,” she said. “Investigation, collaboration and intelligence sharing with our counterparts across the globe position the Bureau as an essential part of international crime-fighting efforts when it comes to money laundering and related offences,” Templeman stated in the release.

“The Bureau offers a diverse range of expertise, particularly with regards the quickly evolving area of cybercrime. It has also successfully harnessed home-grown talent, who offer a comprehensive knowledge of the vast and multifaceted financial services industry enjoyed by the Cayman Islands,” she added.

Officials said this new bureau “utilises advanced law enforcement techniques in the investigation of complex, cross-border financial crimes, while conducing proactive analysis of intelligence alongside financial transactions”.

Working with the Financial Reporting Authority (FRA), which has effectively worked as a clearing house for reports about suspicious financial activity but does not investigate, the Bureau will be collaborating between industry and law enforcement as it goes after sophisticated organised crime, filling a long standing hole in Cayman’s fight against financial crime.


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Category: CIBFI, Crime

Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fresh off the heels of a predictable $25mln ICO fraud case, in the Cayman Islands involving a recidivist operating under fake alias, another $90mln fraud case published a week ago, and with 17 Cayman-based crypto-exchanges (some requiring no more than a burner SIM card to trade), swapping between 30+ virtual coins: CIMA now admits they don’t know how to supervise cyber currency laundering, blockchain virtual assets, initial coin offering scams, and their related market participants. I suppose Cindy Scotland has been relying on Tara Rivers’ “wait and see” sandbox thinking from 2018: “regulators and lawmakers in the Cayman Islands are keen to avoid rushing through any legislation before the potential benefits and pitfalls of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies and ICOs are properly understood”.

    You can’t even make this stuff up.

  2. Catcha Fire says:

    Why is it we have to import and employ everybody else in the world here to tell us how to investigate money laundering and financial crimes When we clearly have or can draw from our very own local & expatriates experts with experience right here in Cayman. Is it because they don’t trust us and how is that going to be any different than sending those who do not have clue about Cayman but yet come and learn on the job, to become experts as is the case in nearly all instances. We have expertise right here who have work in every jurisdiction in the world? Unless it is just what we all know and suspect this so called bureau is really an information database booth run by pencil necks to collect and distribute information to London ! A computerized Post Office Manned by an over paid postal mistress and law enforcement postal workers.

  3. VAMOSAO Vote Alden & Mckeewa stupid Asses out says:

    Fru Fiu Fra now yet another Cibfi more abbreviations than quakers have oats and here is another Fucau Fing Up Cayman as usual with yet another POR pile of rubbish To SMOOCH Sucking Money out of Cayman Hourly and TGIFOS this government is full of shit and SITG so is this Governor and finally CASTOFF Caymanians are sick & tired of friggin Foolishness!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I have been reading this and other versions of the press release.
    A friend has told me that 70% of the bureau staff only arrived on island in November this Included the head. Taking into account quarantine public holidays how did they manage to freeze 200 million in a couple of months.
    It seems clear they are trying to discredited the RCIPS Financial Unit but are they really at fault or were they just poorly lead and discouraged to look under the surface.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have read both the CMR and CNS versions of the press release.
    Reading between the line the DCI is a figurehead and nothing more but clearly the head and running the Bureau and with an idea of international money laundering is Ms. Victoria.
    I really do hope she does get the resources to look at the criminal funds hidden in this island. The previous regime FCU were actively discharged to investigate these types of offences and after the investigation do the ODPP posses the skills to prosecute these matters because so far the track record is poor.
    Hopefully FATF will look behind this weak press release and see the truth.

  6. CCB says:

    I thought with all this so called robust AML techniques and legislation we have put in place all this money laundering has been stopped or put to bed. It would appear not and now we are installing yet another spy agency to disseminate information to London The sad part 25 years ago we had experienced local and overseas investigators and very capable persons doing this very same thing and were very successful, but we found that those now touting and promoting this more than often we’re the same very folks and agencies thwarting and obstructing and undermining many investigations just because of political & economic greedy and selfish agendas here and abroad. Now fast forward to those now leading this new charge with big job titles and very gullible and naive stooges who’s big salaries and self promotion appears to be paramount to successful outcomes and trust me this is for the sole benefit of those in the FCO or home office in London. Wow 200 million reasons why we now needs this new bureau. The sad part those who’s backs this inter agency successful cooperation and joint intelligence operations were built on have never been recognized and it’s success was never promoted nor built on too.But yet they were the real pioneers and founding teams of investigators who names are forgotten and some would like it remain so. As some of our so called stalwarts in our Financial industry and law enforcement hall of fame were not so stellar as they would love us all to believe. Thank you Chief inspector John Boaden Superintendent David Gooding and the many others in our financial industry and law enforcement who’s cooperation and contributions to the many successful financial investigations and operations in the Cayman Islands. Their is a difference between spying and investigating Cayman.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s refreshing to see that career RCIPS investigator Richard Barrow finally has some capacity to triage the libraries of un-actioned financial industry SARs and discern what they are looking at. The CFATF wrote us up on years of failing FCU (under Barrow)/CIMA inaction, hopefully, if these asset freezes have legitimacy, they will pave the way for white collar arrests and charges, demonstrating regulator proficiency that has been missing. That would still not address our failing political corruption marks. I hope CIBFI echoes the sentiment that we could be blacklisted just for the latter deficient element, given the time we’ve been provided to remedy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can’t stress this enough- there needs to be another pension fund withdrawal. Without tourists it’s tough feeding the kids and getting by month to month

    • Anonymous says:

      To the point where you add it to every single thread no matter how relevant.

    • Anonymous says:

      Regretting those stays at the Kimpton and new iPhones from the first withdrawal eh?

      • Anonymous says:

        Hardly … more like I’m make a $h*tload of money in the stock market and want more cash from those utterly pathetic pension funds.
        There should be an investigation into the salaries of those fat cat pension fund managers and how grossly incompetent they relative to a $9 etf like QQQ.

  9. 345 dreaming says:

    The question remains, is this an outlier or just another day at the office? Doesn’t seem crazy now that the EU has applied pressure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    This implies it’s Cayman’s money but it isn’t. We are paying this team of professionals to recover other people’s money. I hope they take % of any funds recovered so they can contribute to the running of the government!

  11. Anonymous says:

    A couple of observations as this press release is short of substance.
    How many funds accounts have actually been frozen.
    How many persons have been arrested
    How many persons have been charged
    How many people have been before the courts.

  12. Tundi says:

    In less than a year they freeze 200 million, Caymans own FBI
    Another example of a world class government and civil service.

    • Anonymous says:

      ha Ha ha

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow. Against just how many SARS and what value in illicit transactions? At least we seem to have migrated from the policy of pretending there is no illicit activity to doing something about it, but given the trillions of dollars of funds flow through Cayman $200m looks pretty thin.

  13. Bitcoin Laundry Service says:

    Tourism: Dead

    Tax Avoidance: Process of dying due to issuances such as these.

    How else do these islands function? Welp…back to thatch rope like granny.

    Leave the launderers, they encourage more laundering. No it may not directly benefit the economy but it definitely indirectly benefits it.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a joke right?

    • Anonymous says:

      i do not see how it’s “money laundering”. in 99 percent of these cases, these people already paid taxes on this money. Infact, probably taxed two or three times on this money.
      For example. I make a million. I pay my workers with that money. It’s taxed. then i get taxed on my million. Then i put it in a local bank and make interest and get taxed again. And then in the US of A i must declare all my assets and the government will try and tax me again. Seriously.

      why should they have to pay so much tax to governments who treat them like money cows.

      If you don’t like people taking money from your country and putting it offshore. Make your taxation better.

      cayman is the most amazing government in the world, and do not kid yourself. We are the envy of the world. Yes, our government can use improvement. And it’s slowly happening. But there is a reason why most who come here, do not want to leave.

      • Jotnar says:

        Tax evasion is a crime, yeah it’s actually laundering when you attempt to conceal the proceeds of a crime. But that is not what this is about – this is freezing orders based on fraud and other criminal activity and intern cooperation with law enforcement agencies, not individuals tax evasion – that’s already dealt with by a completely different system.

  14. Anonymous says:


  15. Anonymous says:

    CNS – they haven’t seized it; they don’t have control of it – rather it is frozen; they will have to a) satisfy the court that it is illegal proceeds and should be surrendered and b) even then, determine who gets it – it may well be surrendered to another jurisdiction.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So if Cayman now starts taking laundered money is that stealing?
    But hey what’s 200million of a few billion each day right?

    Gov low on funds, time to top up?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Gimmie dolla

  18. Anonymous says:

    Serious question: What happens to the US$200m?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Where does the money go that is seized under these sort of orders? If the money is in the Cayman Islands and is then not allowed to be returned to the account holder, who keeps it?

    • Anonymous says:

      IF they prove its proceeds of crime and no one has a legitimate claim to it AND no other law enforcement agency turns up to claim it – for example, the crime or the funds originated in their jurisdiction- then the Crown gets it.

      • Anonymous says:

        How many times in the past 30 years has the Crown been the one who received such funds?

        • Anonymous says:

          Not sure we have ever frozen anyone’s money before, other than local criminals like numbers men and Cannover.

  20. Anonymous says:

    What happens to the $200m after seizure and clearing through the court system? Fix the dump? Causeway over the Sound? Intra islands ferry service? Solar farm? Develop personal property security registry? Endowment fund for universities? Development of national cryptocurrency?

    • Anonymous says:

      None of the above.

      • Anonymous says:

        More helicopters for RCIPS, bigger boats for the coast guard and a lot more staff and computers for the CIBFI. And what they don’t spend goes into governments slush fund- oops Nation Building Find Mk II – not Mk I because that was really bad, Mk. II that pays for lots of handouts and expenditure just before election time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I kinda like the way you think, hopefully many will too 2:16pm

      How about a sovereign fund which monthly returns pay a mandatory national wage for all.

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