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Monday, 26 November 2012

"Sharks In Sark"

Alleged money laundering in Sark

A large scale investigation is underway into alleged money laundering offences in Sark.

Two island residents appeared in Guernsey's Magistrate's Court this morning following a raid involving 16 customs officers at an address in Sark on Monday 19th November.

Michael Doyle, 44, of Oakwood Manor, Rue Du Monnaie, St Andrew, is charged with operating a business between December 2004 and November 2012 without a fiduciary licence.

He was refused a licence in 2004.

He and Belinda Lanyon, 51, of La Connellerie, are charged with perverting the course of justice by disposing of evidence.

Neither entered a plea and have been remanded in custody.

Prosecuting advocate Chris Dunford told the court that on 19th November while customs officials carried out a raid in Sark, two raids were also carried out in the UK and Guernsey.

"It is suspected that both of them are operating as nominee directors in 300 companies."

He said a large scale investigation was underway, the case involved $250,000, but that could run in to millions in due course.
Advocate Dunford said customs officers had placed a probe in the pair's vehicle and picked up Mr Doyle saying: "Come on then let's get rid of this evidence. If they find it we'll be in trouble."

Mrs Lanyon, who was born in Jersey but has lived in Sark for 21 years, was reported as saying: "We need to put the papers down at Vazon, these are overflowing."

The court heard that officers went to the Vazon bring bank but found the bins had been emptied. Some papers were recovered but some bails are still being searched.

Advocate Dunford said if customs had not put the probe in the car the material would have disappeared.

"It is a very complicated investigation. It is suspected to be serious money laundering on a high scale."

Today's hearing comes on the same day that the Guardian has published its own investigation into 'sham directors'.

The BBC's Panorama programme due to be shown tonight will also focus on the topic with a piece on the 'Sark Lark' thought to have been stamped out years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Since this report was filed, the prosecution have apologised to the courts for overestimating the financial seriousness of their investigation, stating that the investigation is now far from a matter of "millions". The case has been set for trial on three occasions and each time has been cancelled by the prosecution, the judge now admonishing the Guernsey prosecution advocate Will Giles for poor case management stating that the very length of proceedings are now themselves a potential point of appeal. Mr Doyle was released from custody having spent 10 months and four days as a remand prisoner prior to any trial and allowed no prisoner rights for work during the period of his incarceration. This case now enters its third year as Guernsey continues to hold up scapegoats such as these defendants to mask its inadequacy at identifying and dealing with those among its employees and clients who really are actively engaged in money laundering. The cost to Guernsey's tax payers will doubtless be kept secret as indeed will any future compensation payout. This relatively simple case has outlived the start and completion of complex enquiries such as the Saville enquiry, Pitorious etc and shows no sign of drawing to any conclusion whilst the defendants remain the victims of restraining orders, business closure, bail terms and all the prejudices that accompany the accused.