Jury selection in corruption trial for Canover Watson set for Friday

Jury selection in the corruption trial of Cayman Islands businessman Canover Watson and his former personal assistant Miriam Rodriguez has been pushed back a few days, but was expected to get under way by Friday, according to attorneys involved in the case. 

That leaves the start date of the criminal trial potentially at Monday, depending on how quickly a jury is picked. 

Watson, 45, faces about a dozen charges in connection with the awarding of two contracts to the Cayman Islands public hospital system in 2010 and 2011. Rodriguez also faces several charges in connection with the alleged scheme. 

Crown prosecutors have said they expect the trial to last several weeks. 

Money laundering alleged  

Watson faces 10 charges that were filed in 2014 following his arrest. Those charges, brought under the Proceeds of Crime Law, include six for alleged money laundering, relating to US$169,000, covering the period from Dec. 30, 2010 to June 2012. He is also charged with failing to disclose a pecuniary interest, breach of trust, fraud on the government, and conflict of interest. 

Rodriguez faces one fraud-related charge in the investigation under section 11 of the Cayman Islands Anti-Corruption Law and two charges of money laundering. The money laundering allegations relate to separate amounts, totaling US$30,000 and US$25,000, that Rodriguez is accused of handling on behalf of Watson, who was managing director at Admiral Administration. 

Both Watson and Rodriguez have pleaded not guilty to all charges. 

Watson and another Cayman Islands businessman were also charged in July with various offenses connected to the December 2010 award of the CarePay swipe-card contract by the Health Services Authority to Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) Cayman Ltd. Additional allegations are made in the charges regarding the 2011 award of a computerized pharmaceutical tracking system for the Health Services Authority, also to AIS Cayman Ltd. 

Watson served as chairman of the Health Services Authority board of directors at the time both contracts were awarded to the company, which Crown prosecutors allege he controlled. In all previous statements to the press, Watson has denied all allegations of corrupt acts. 

Mr. Watson

Mr. Watson

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