FIFA probe puts Cayman in the spotlight
Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin has defended the islands’ reputation in the wake of the FIFA bribery scandal, saying his government takes a “zero tolerance approach to anyone carrying out illicit activities” through the territory.
He said local law enforcement agencies are cooperating with the international investigation into allegations of corruption at world football’s governing body.
The premier added that he was satisfied that the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority was taking “appropriate action” following allegations that some bribery payments were routed through Fidelity Bank Ltd. in Grand Cayman.
He said, “The Cayman Islands has a reputation for engagement and achievement of very robust global standards in relation to the regulation of domestic and cross-border financial transactions.
“We do not intend to compromise the hard work we have done over the past couple of decades and the good rating and reputation we have earned.
“We have a long history of cooperating with global, and in particular, U.S. authorities and there is no doubt that we have and will continue to fully assist in the investigation and ultimate conclusion of these matters.”
Mr. McLaughlin said government had been monitoring developments since the arrest of Jeffrey Webb along with other FIFA officials, including former Cayman Islands resident Costas Takkas, in Switzerland last week. Webb is one of 14 businessmen and sports marketing executives accused of negotiating bribes in return for television and media rights for international football tournaments.
“This was sad news for the sport of football, Mr. Webb’s family and the Cayman Islands,” said Mr. McLaughlin. He added that government would not comment on ongoing investigations “in this jurisdiction or elsewhere,” saying it was a matter for law enforcement and ultimately the courts.
“We are confident that justice will, in the end, be served,” he added. The FIFA investigation has put a global spotlight on Cayman’s financial industry. Mr. McLaughlin insisted,
“The Cayman Islands has a reputation for engagement and achievement of very robust global standards in relation to the regulation of domestic and cross-border financial transactions. Our excellent ratings from assessments by the Global Forum and the Financial Action Task Force certainly demonstrate this.”