0

Flowers To Challenge Banks Over Web Money

photo

Craig Flowers

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

FRESH off a major Court of Appeal victory, FML Group of Companies CEO Craig Flowers may now be turning his sights to a new, bigger legal challenge: fighting Canadian banks operating in the Bahamas over their refusal to conduct business with the legalised web shop sector.

After attorney Wayne Munroe said Wednesday that Bahamian web shop operators could sue Canadian-owned commercial banks for discrimination over their refusal to accept deposits from the sector, Mr Flowers told The Tribune yesterday that he would “absolutely” present a legal challenge to the banks. He added that web shop operators would likely pursue such action collectively to produce a victory for the entire industry.

Such threats mark a shift in the efforts local web shop operators have taken to convince the Canadian banks to embrace their business. Government officials had previously taken the lead in the matter by seeking to assure the banks that the now regulated industry is safe for business and meets international standards.

For Mr Flowers, the banks’ decision not to accept money from web shop operations displays institutional discrimination against such businesses.

“The policy here is that banks feel small operations like (my) own and other organisations that deal with gaming are more susceptible to corruption,” he said. “Their feeling is, ‘we believe Mr Flowers is open for acts of bribery and they don’t want to deal with him because he’ s a small, simple man, unlike Atlantis which is a big company.’

“The fallacy of their decision is, how can the bank say to Atlantis we can take your money but then decline to take ours? If I’m a foreigner I could spend money at Atlantis and Atlantis can take the money to the bank and the bank will take that money. The bank doesn’t know the key information about Atlantis’ customers, so how can they justify taking such money but don’t take ours when we have Know Your Customer policies and we have customers whom we do our due diligence on and manage their accounts? We know their addresses and where they come from. Atlantis doesn’t know their customers as comprehensively as we do. Yet the banks tell us, not them, no.”

“Our objective is for us to be treated fairly,” he said. “If you are going to say there is a concern about money laundering and terrorist funding and the like, then let us be held accountable for these things. Let us come forward and state our claim about what we are putting in place. But no, they won’t do that. All the power is left in hands of banks.”

State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez yesterday endorsed the idea of web shop operators pursing legal action against the banks, saying it would be an “excellent thing to do.”

The banks that will not accept deposits from web shops because of their worldwide policy include CIBC FirstCaribbean, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank.

A position paper by RBC (Bahamas) states that conducting business with web shops would run afoul of its parent bank’s global policies and US Federal law.

However, Bank of the Bahamas is doing business with web shops, having received clearance from its own US correspondent bank, JP Morgan Chase, to accept deposits from the legalised sector.

This, Mr Gomez said, shows US law does not prohibit banks from doing business with local web shops.

“(The aspect of US law that prohibits online gambling transactions) is not relevant to the services which web shops offer in the Bahamas,” Mr Gomez said. “It is doubly irrelevant because under Bahamian law, online gaming in the Bahamas is restricted to Bahamian currency. There is absolutely no danger of co-mingling Bahamian and US currency in relation to gaming. In fact, the Bank of the Bahamas has a correspondent bank in the United States that has indicated they have no problem receiving local web shop monies in Bahamian currency and not in US. I think it’s madness for banks to say they are not going to accept money for lawful operations under Bahamian law.”

The government passed the Gaming Act last year and the Gaming Board is in the process of determining which web shops will receive licenses as gaming houses.

Comments

duppyVAT 4 years, 11 months ago

Is Craig Flowers more powerful than the Prime Minister in our country???? Who is going to arrest the power of this MAFIA boss before he destroys the financial and judicial credibility of our country????

4

asiseeit 4 years, 11 months ago

The judicial credibility of The Bahamas is out the window. The only thing that you can believe about it is that it is for sale, just like our government. What a sad country The Bahamas has become. Look up Banana Republic or nation for sale in the dictionary and it will say, see The Bahamas. Forward, Upward, Onward, Together, straight to hell.

0

Honestman 4 years, 11 months ago

A position paper by RBC (Bahamas) states that conducting business with web shops would run afoul of its parent bank’s global policies and US Federal law.

We don't have to go any further than this. RBC (Bahamas) will simply exit the Bahamas if it is told it must accept tainted money. CIBC and Scotiabank will follow them leaving us all to bank with Bank of The Bahamas. If that happens ALL foreign investors will leave these shores. Government really hasn't thought this one through.

2

Zakary 4 years, 11 months ago

  • A position paper by RBC (Bahamas) states that conducting business with web shops would run afoul of its parent bank’s global policies and US Federal law.

I agree. These fellas playin' with serious fire and it's the type that consumes all. If it's one thing that really stinks about this entire industry, it has to their identification as a "web shop". Legally, it is quite possible these fellas are all misrepresenting themselves by identifying as a "web shop" when considering its meaning in the context of computers and the internet.

"Web shop gaming" who came up with that nonsense?

0

asiseeit 4 years, 11 months ago

I would put my money in mason jars in my back yard before I put it in BOB. Thank god for Commonwealth Bank!

1

Sickened 4 years, 11 months ago

This is all part of the plan. Get all of the foreign banks to leave so that the number criminals' bank (BoB). Will be the only major game in town (other than Commonwealth Bank, who is seen as 'the white man' bank). Does anyone really think that these criminals or the PLP care about what's best for Their Bahamas?

Once the first law suit is hinted at, foreign investment will exit and there will be a run on all of the banks. The B$ will be sooo weak that it will have to be floated and then we are doomed for at least 50 years. The only good thing that can come from this, is that along the way, there will be mass hysteria and looting and hopefully these criminals, as well as the current MP's, will be destroyed and their ill-gotten gains will be taken from them by the very same people they are taking from now.

0

jackbnimble 4 years, 11 months ago

When you lay down with dogs you wake up with fleas. The man thinks his money makes him invincible.

0

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 11 months ago

PREVIOUS POSTED BY REALITY_CHECK TO AN EARLIER RELATED ARTICLE: All three of the Appeals Court Justices (namely Anita Allen, Abdulai Conteh and Jon Isaacs) who unanimously ruled in favour of quashing the earlier conviction of Craig Flowers should be subject to immediate recall or impeachment. As reported by The Nassau Guardian, the lower Court magistrate (Derence Rolle-Davis) who convicted Craig Flowers heard and had sight of an overwhelming preponderance of irrefutable evidence pointing to his ownership and beneficial interest in the illegal gambling house the police raided in 2009. According to The Nassau Guardian, the evidence presented by the prosecutor for the people of the Bahamas included, among many other things: (1) The opening of an online gaming account at the Wulff Road web shop by an under-cover police officer (Tyrone Clarke) who testified that he obtained an account card and was given instruction s on how to use the website www.nassaugames.com; (2) the depositing of $3 by another under-cover police officer (Nicholas Huyler) to the web shop account that Officer Clark had opened after checking the winning numbers for early New York, Miami and Chicago on one of the computers at the web shop; and (3) the fact that the business license for the web shop was in the name of Craig Flowers himself. The very fact that $834,000 was found at the web shop and confiscated is in and of itself very strong incriminating evidence of Craig Flowers involvement in racketeering criminal activities at the raided web shop. The fact that he did not have this cash on him personally is completely irrelevant.....after all, how many men wear clothing with pockets big enough to hold cold cash of that amount! The fact that the three Justices of the Appeal Court have ordered that this cash totalling $834,000 (representing the ill-gotten proceeds of crime) be returned by the people of the Bahamas to Craig Flowers is absolutely outrageous to say the least. The fact that Craig Flowers was not present on the premises at the time of the raid and under-cover activities of the two police officers is also completely irrelevant. It is common knowledge to virtually all Bahamians )including the three Justices - Allen, Conteh and Issacs - that Craig Flowers has for many decades been directly involved in the illegal promotion and illegal conduct of lotteries. There are thousands of Bahamians and illegal immigrants who can provide sworn affidavits and testimony to that effect. The height of the absurdity of this ruling by the Appeals Court can now only be exceeded by the height of the absurdity that the prosecutor for the Bahamian people will not take this matter to its rightfully well-warranted next level to avoid both the appearance and reality of a complete breakdown of the justice system in our country.

0

TalRussell 4 years, 11 months ago

Not for me to question the rulings da Comrade Justices of da court, being they are trained in da law, but I do likes thinks, I as being of "common sense" intelligence law-abiding citizens, always eager learn to understand as much as possible about da law, so I hope I am not out of order to the Honourable Justices, to ask for an answer to but a few lingering questions.
If what I read the decision to overturn was in essence, there was no evidence of any arrangement between the appellant and any of the persons found to be promoting or conducting a lottery; and no evidence from which it may be reasonably inferred that he ought to have known but turned a blind eye to what was going on.
Okay I understand that but how did the $834,629.32 get inside the building – some golden goose fly over da roof, dropping cash through an open skylight?
Also, how did Flowers go about proving to the court that, he Flowers was in fact the sole legal owner of da close to a million dollars in cash, that was ceased during the raid by the policeman’s?
Also, would it have been normal cash flow business, for a tiny web shop business to have close to a million dollars in cash on da premises? I think I might not be the only confused citizen? If, I as a citizen am out of order, I respectfully apologize to da Honourable Justices in advance.
At least, if I were a Justice sitting in my robes up on high court bench, before I would return close million dollars someone, I would first demand to get some straight answers, likes to rightful ownership and how's in hell did they's legally come by these ceased monies?

0

ThisIsOurs 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm convinced Bahamians are missing the humility gene. Who told anybody that a Canadian bank MUST operate from the Bahamas? also while we can do whatever we want with our laws I'm assuming a Canadian bank is still governed by international and Canadian laws

1

newcitizen 4 years, 11 months ago

Web shops are not legalized yet so how is he going to challenge them. Not a single web shop licence has been issued.

1

Bahamianpride 4 years, 11 months ago

Flowers owns them all. The web shop bribes are just to sweet. With All that cash he can just grease as many palms as possible. The web shops are dirty but so are the banks, charging outrageous rates for consumer loans, products and services. The government is the third culprit in this scheme taxing its own people to death with vat, charging outrageous rates for electricity, and creating an environment where government dependency for jobs is the norm. No angels here...Morals left the building a long time ago with ping and the drug trade.

0

Bahamianpride 4 years, 11 months ago

Start a national lottery, legalize gambling, web shops would be out of business. Our own self discriminating laws has made people like flowers rich. Try getting a legitimate business started from scratch in the Bahamas, its near impossible today. The bureaucracy and red tape one has to go through is ridiculous if u r legitimate. The system is set up where as if u r not politically connected or a loaded foreigner aint nothing happening. What's even more interesting is that many people who are rich today in our society made dirty money which they ended up using to fund legitimate businesses.

0

duppyVAT 4 years, 11 months ago

Anyone remember Carlos Lehder ?????????????? a black reincarnation

0

Sign in to comment