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The Mounties Raid Turks and Caicos Islands

Tax-news.com

16 February 1999


No fewer than 13 Canadian police stayed at a $250 luxury hotel before raiding a Turks and Caicos Islands offshore company. More than 100 boxes of documents were seized from the British West Indies Trust Company, whose chief executive was later arrested and charged in Toronto with money laundering. Lawyers prevented the police from taking the documents, which had already been loaded onto a private plane after the night-time raid; many had apparently already been scanned. The chief executive has accused the police of entrapment; many respectable private clients of the company are outraged. Whatever the outcome of the case, the legality of the police action is questionable; as is the attitude of the Turks and Caicos authorities which permitted it. The jurisdiction's reputation will suffer a severe blow. Turks and Caicos is one of the British Caribbean Dependent Territories which have recently been pressurized by the British Government to improve their regimes; the relationship between this and the Canadian action, if any, is unclear.

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