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A purely analytical perception...


BAHAMAS

Continued from page 8

David Walsh was the head man at Bre-X Minerals and had been a major seller of the stock as it spiraled upward. Walsh knew that ultimately the scheme would be discovered, and squirreled the money away in the Ansbacher Bahamas Bank. Walsh determined to withdraw his money from the bank after the scandal was discovered. The Bahamas, always friends of the friendless, took the matter to the Country's Supreme Court, which determined that Walsh, as a legitimate business man, could do as he wished with the funds.

Walsh remains happily holed up in the Bahamas as lawsuits totaling billions of dollars are filled against him. Bank records have shown that both Walsh and his wife were allowed to set up nominee accounts in the Bahamian Bank under names such as Balogh and Hearn Ltd. The bank rightly stated at the time, "Ansbacher does not wish to prejudice the interest of its valued customers, but at this time it considers that it would be irresponsible to ignore the published information and possibility that the monies in the Bank are the proceeds of a fraud". As we indicated, the Bahamian Supreme Court did not agree, although one of the Justices, Emmanuel Osadeby, stated, "There are now grounds for believing that the funds and securities or much of them may have been obtained through fraudulent activities on investors who invested in the shares of Bre-X Minerals Ltd."

The money was returned to Walsh after Justice Anita Allen determined that "On the state of the evidence before me, I can find nothing which indicates that Walsh was personally involved in the salting of samples, or that he knew or had any information of such a scheme," "In my view, if he were involved in the fraud, or knew of its existence, I would expect him to sell, not all of his shares, as that would be too obvious, but a greater proportion than he sold." An if you believe that, I have a large bridge for sale that connects Manhattan Island to Brooklyn.

Bre-X Chairman, John Felderhof, also found the Bahamian climate to his liking and moved to the Island Paradise just before the fraud was exposed. Felderhof is believed to be enjoying the balmy Bahamian breezes with about $70 million tucked neatly into his trousers that was indirectly stolen from Bre-X share holders.

Both men indicated that they did not choose the Bahamas for their non-extradition treaties, nor did they choose the country for its bank secrecy laws. Bahamian judges can be made to understand that large sums of money can show up unexpectedly in accounts in their banks. Further, Bahamian law and tradition provide that when this occurs, the owner's rights must be protected even at the cost of sever financial hardship to others.

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