It’s been three weeks since the Cayman Islands was shoved into the international spotlight of a corruption scandal, with the arrest of now former CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president, Jeffrey Webb. “This isn’t a representation of the jurisdiction,” Cayman Finance CEO Jude Scott told CNS Business, maintaining that Cayman has no tolerance for corruption, money laundering or any sort of illegal activities, “no matter where it originates”.One man’s alleged actions does not represent what Cayman’s offshore financial centre is all about, he said.
“It will only negatively impact us if we appear to have something to hide or if we’re not clear on what we stand for. We have great things that we stand for and great things that we do every day. We do understand that under our laws and requirements, once we encounter these types of transactions we may have no choice but to process them and properly report them,” he explained.
It’s an incident that has shocked senior government officials, jurisdiction leaders and rocked the international footballing world. Scott said when Cayman Finance first heard the news, they were extremely saddened to learn of allegations of corruption and money laundering among senior leaders and officials within FIFA. American prosecutors claim the FIFA leaders made more than US $150 million over 20 years in kickbacks.
“What we also recognize is the very important role that the Cayman Islands plays on the global financial stage. We are so very connected with many transactions around the globe that we realize there are going to be difficult situations and unfortunate things which do occur. But if there has to be investigations, it may as well be in our jurisdiction because we have such confidence in our people,” Scott explained. “We have a confidence in our service providers on not only understanding the laws and regulations but also fulfilling their obligations under it.”
Like many others, Cayman Finance’s is still unsure of any exact details. The release of the 164-page US Department of Justice indictment outlined the case against Cayman’s football boss and many other FIFA officials who were arrested. According to the indictment, a number of alleged bribery payments were routed through Fidelity Bank accounts, controlled by Webb’s attaché, former Cayman Islands resident Costas Takkas.
Fidelity Bank, where Webb was previously the business development manager, has said it is “conducting an internal review” of the transactions referred to in the US justice department’s indictment against Webb and various other FIFA officials and sport executives. The bank has also consulted with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority regarding the internal review.
Webb faces charges of racketeering and several counts of wire fraud and money laundering.
Scott said Cayman Finance is confident the relevant international investigating authorities will follow due process and the appropriate outcomes will be reached.
“We look forward to the outcomes and we look forward to continuing to play our important role in the global financial market. Whether it be helping facilitate the important transactions or, when it comes to cross border corporation, to ensure that we are involved in doing our part to help prevent or to bring to proper prosecution the types of transactions that are very sophisticated, and without the help and support of jurisdictions like the Cayman Islands might otherwise go unpunished,” he said. “It’s part of what we do and it’s why we have the strong laws in place and why we play such an important role and will continue to play.”