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Web Shop Operators Mull ‘Discrimination’ Lawsuit Against Banks

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

mckenzie@tribunemedia.net

Bahamian web shop operators may sue the Canadian-owned commercial banks for “discrimination” over their refusal to accept deposits from a legalised gaming sector, a well-known QC said yesterday.

Addressing a Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers (BACO) seminar, Wayne Munroe suggested that Bank of the Bahamas (BOB), the only institution that has agreed to accept web shop gaming  deposits, should insist that operators send more business to the bank.

He added that they could do this by requiring their collective 1,700 staff, and the estimated 80,000-100,000 gaming house patrons, to bank with Bank of the Bahamas as a way to send a message to the other commercial banks.

  Mr Munroe told Tribune Business that Bahamian gaming house operators were “offended” that the commercial bank, with the exception of Bank of the Bahamas, were not accepting their deposits. Yet they were taking deposits from Bahamas-based casinos.

“For whatever reason, the banks still do not engage with the owners of the web shops,” Mr Munroe said. “They engage  with Atlantis, which has online gaming for the whole world in US dollars and is a convertible currency, but the owners of web shops can only do business with domestic players in Bahamian dollars.

“The risk of someone doing business in a convertible currency is higher than someone doing business in a non-convertible currency,” Mr Munroe added.

    “The challenge is going to be at some point, once these guys feel that everything is over, they will look to bring an action against the banks for discrimination based on place of origin. That’s the only difference between them and Atlantis and Baha Mar.”

Mr Munroe continued: “These guys have enough money to pay me to take a case all the way to the Privy Council. These are not the type of litigants who are likely to say: ‘I’m just going to bow down and talk this’.

“I can tell you that they are already thinking about suing the commercial banks who don’t deal with them on the basis of discrimination.”

  Mr Munroe suggested that Bank of the Bahamas insist that gaming house operators require their employees and patrons bank with them.

“I encourage Bank of the Bahamas to insist that if you bank with me, your customers must bank with me, your employees must bank with me and get all of this business of these 100,000 people,” he added. “Put some pain on all of these others and maybe they will change their minds.”

Mr Munroe added that online gaming provided a “perfect solution” to money laundering concerns.

“There is the ability to  pay into your account through your bank and receive your money directly  at your bank,” he said.

“You won’t really have a  problem of the cash transactions, which I was always told was a big issue in money laundering. Online gaming gives the ability to do away with the need for cash, although you wouldn’t take that option out.”

Comments

asiseeit 4 years, 11 months ago

You just can not make this nanny up!

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banker 4 years, 11 months ago

This is unbelievable. Hilarious. Laughable.

Munroe is the reason why Bahamian lawyers are not respected or trusted.

Go ahead and sue. It will give the banks another reason to close up shop here.

And in the meantime, Bank of Bahamas will fail.

The previous commenter was right. This is pure comedy.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 11 months ago

Gold Rush 2.0. No lessons learnt.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 11 months ago

Well the monster is unleashed. Mark my words. In most jurisdictions I would not be worried about a threat like that. not in the Bahamas with is corrupt judiciary. First I don't believe this is a random moment to roll out thi threat by the number's boys after Mr. Flowers goes free and the Government caved on executing enforcement of the law on exisiting but non licensed number houses. The banks are the natural opponents of mafia like structures, as the mafia needs the financial system to collaborate in the big scheme of money laundering. If you cant control them, fight them. I am convinced the numbers boys will be able to piss of the commercial banks and further weaken the legitimate portions of our financial industry. And am sure we already know all the lawyers that will prostitute themselves for the cause.

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realfreethinker 4 years, 11 months ago

LOL LOL LOL say put your money in BOB. One would be an asshole to put your money in tat sinking ship called BOB. The only reason it is still open is because the gov owns 65% so they just keep propping up a failing enterprise. It is sinking just like the SS plp. Good luck with that one.

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Bahamianpride 4 years, 11 months ago

As much as i despise gambling and web shops. I must say, just like prohibition created the mob, our own self discriminating laws have created these webb shop. It pains me to say it because I know the corruption associated with this business and its illegal and destructive forces. The quickest way to put them out of business or not deal with these organizations is to create a national lottery and remove all gambling restrictions for Bahamians. Unfortunately that's not going to happen because they own our politicians and we allow the christian council to dictate on matters of business. I am also torn because all of these foreign and local banks offer shitty interest rates to Bahamians and horrible loan terms so they are no better than the web shops. This country screws its own people by not setting up rules with our neighbor the U.S that allows us to compete for better financial deals on the open global market without the penalty of higher taxes and fees. Between the Government, Banks and Web shops, there are no angels.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 11 months ago

well I respectfully disagree. The lack of enforcement of the laws created the mob. money laundering destroys the regular economy because it is not a level playing field. In Poland the Russian mafia runs production plants for electrical plugs etc., but these business pay nothing or next to nothing for obtaining financing. To launder money, people that own that money are willing to subsidize it (make it cheap) so they can use the money. There is a cost to them to bring illicit funds into the regular economy and they accept that, because not being able to bring the funds into the regular economy makes the funds useless. I don't think the web shop owners are the owners of the money that is and will be laundered, they are just aiding and abetting to launder money. the money that is and will go through the Bahamian webshop business is most likely from Central and Latin America (drugs) or possibly also from Asian betting. If the Mexican and Colombian drug cartels can infiltrate the Venezuelan government for money laundering in a big manner, they certainly can easily control the Bahamian web shop business.

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proudloudandfnm 4 years, 11 months ago

Technically we have no licensed web shop operators at this time. So how can a bunch of guys that own nothing sue the banks?

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