Jersey’s record of going after fraudsters and money launderers through the courts is “extremely strong”, according to the Attorney General.
Robert MacRae QC, who took over the role in May 2015, has released details of 12 cases in the last six years which have seen convictions in all but one case, with prison sentences totalling almost 37 years handed out and around £36 million confiscated from criminals.
Responding to criticism that a lack of prosecutions had been flagged up by international assessors from Moneyval and the IMF as a potential weak spot in Jersey’s track record in financial services regulation, the Attorney General said that for a small jurisdiction, the Island’s reputation was extremely strong.
He said: “The recent history of prosecuting complex fraud and money laundering cases by the Attorney General of Jersey is indicative of the Island’s commitment to combat financial crime.
“Over the last decade in particular there has been substantial success in investigating and prosecuting financial crime, confiscating the assets of convicted criminals and where appropriate, sharing those assets with third countries and using those assets to benefit the Public of Jersey through the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund.
“The number of such cases prosecuted over the last six or seven years has been unprecedented. For a small jurisdiction, Jersey’s record in this area is extremely strong.”
The cases cited by the Attorney General include:
- The 2010 case of accountant Peter Michel, who was jailed for four years, over nine counts of money laundering for clients through lying, false invoicing and forgery.
- The 2010 case of Raj Bhojwani, who was jailed for six years, over two counts of money laundering for former Nigeria President Sani Abacha. Bhojwani negotiated deals to sell vehicles in Nigeria at vastly inflated prices on Abacha’s behalf – the court confiscated £26.5 million after the case, and after hearing that Bhojwani had personally made $40 million from his work.
- The 2012 case of former Magistrate Ian Christmas and his co-accused John Lewis, Russell Foot and James Cameron, who were all jailed for between 15 months and four-and-a-half years for using investors money to cover their expenses and to pay previous investors.
- The 2016 case of Windward Trading Limited – for which extradition proceedings continue – and in which confiscation orders of £3.2 million and $540,000 have already been made. The case concerns substantial bribes to the former Chief Executive of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company.
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