Hide and Seek

August 11, 2017 Crime , North America , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER

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By

Ricardo Swire

 

When you type the words “offshore assets” in any internet browser, electronic sales pitches of a growing mini industry appear on the computer screen. A network of accountants, attorneys and brokers similar to the Equity Development Group promote offshore trusts and private accounts as innovative ways to avoid lawsuits, creditors and local taxes. Foreign stash locations are also useful for evading the tentacles of law enforcement.

Although no precise estimates are available, approximately US$1.6 trillion worth of North American wealth is held in offshore financial accounts. Money moves from domestic account books to Caribbean tax havens such as Antigua, Belize and the Bahamas, without any meetings between promoter and client. In one tell-tale scenario the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), acting on shared intelligence, intercepted Arthur Porter, a Freetown, Sierra Leone born Canadian medical Doctor and his wife as they deplaned a commercial airline in Panama.

A combined investigation by the Surete du Quebec, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and INTERPOL found proof of a Cdn $22.5 million bribe, fraud, conspiracy to commit government scams, abuse of trust, secret commissions and laundering proceeds of crime. From 2008 to 2011 the Doctor was McGill University Health Center’s Director-General and a member of Air Canada’s Board of Directors. As McGill University Health Center’s main administrator he managed the Montreal hospital’s Cdn $1.3 billion building and maintenance contract.

After detention by INTERPOL at Tocumen International Airport the Canadian specialist in neoplastic diseases requested diplomatic immunity, as a Sierra Leone envoy in transit to the Caribbean island Antigua. The Doctor’s immunity petition immediately filed by his lawyer, a sentenced cocaine trafficker connected to Panama’s former dictator and Colombian drug cartels. He operated as point-man of the Eastern Caribbean $13.5 million Cancer Center for the Eastern Caribbean (CCEC) project on Antigua.

On April 26, 2012 ground was broken on the CCEC, with the INTERPOL detainee as chief financier. Three years later on June 26, 2015 the Global Health Partners Ltd, Antigua & Barbuda Government, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States’ Governments and MEI Healthcare Inc. joint venture officially opened. Sierra Leone’s government acknowledged the native father of four as a “Goodwill Ambassador,” which does not qualify for diplomatic immunity.

The Canadian government relaxed extradition efforts, on the basis that a Canadian of such high social standing’s corruption trial would be received negatively by foreign investors. The fifty-nine year old’s 2008 to 2011 chairmanship of Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) was also considered. National secrets he may have been required to reveal, when under oath at a trial, made extradition from Panama disadvantageous.

The SIRC is an autonomous Canadian government agency that manages the national Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and probes complaints against the spy section. SIRC comprises five members appointed by the federal government. The Agency does not report to a minister, only directly to Canada’s Parliament. In the role of whistle-blower the detained Canadian/American Doctor would have publicly exposed Canada’s dark secrets.

The Oncologist’s charade, as sponsor of the CCEC on Antigua was just one of INTERPOL’s questions about his generously sponsored global projects. A Panamanian intelligence report indicated that after his June 30, 2015 death from lung cancer in a Panamanian prison cell, part of US$11 million in criminal assets disappeared from the Canadian Oncologist’s Panamanian corporation bank accounts. The Panamanian governmental ploy, of deliberately failing to hold hearings, set the stage to steal millions from the Canadian Physician’s Panamanian accounts and finally bring his extradition case to a close.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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