Tax haven’s premier is arrested in graft probe

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THE premier of the Cayman Islands has been arrested as part of a corruption investigation in the Caribbean tax haven.

McKeeva Bush was arrested at his home yesterday on Grand Cayman island by officers from the financial unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, a spokeswoman said.

Bush, 57, was detained “in connection with a number of ongoing police investigations,” she added. They include probes into suspected theft related to misuse of a government credit card and breach of trust for the alleged import of explosive substances without valid permits.

Authorities in the British Caribbean territory did not provide any details. “It would be inappropriate for the RCIPS to make any further comment in relation to these matters at this time,” the police statement said. “Further updates will be made available in due course.”

Leonard Dilbert, the premier’s chief of staff, stressed that Bush will continue working as the three-island territory’s leader amid the ongoing police probes.

“There have been no charges,” Mr Dilbert said

Meanwhile, the islands’ 700-member Chamber of Commerce applauded news of the premier’s arrest.

“[His] arrest “demonstrates Cayman’s robust law enforcement and anti-corruption systems and the islands’ intolerance [of] any alleged unethical behaviour or corruption even at the highest level of political office,” the chamber said in a statement.

Private equity and hedge funds crowd into the Caymans to cash in on tax advantages.

Bush wields great power within the territory because he is finance minister as well as head of government. He also is the longest serving member of the Legislative Assembly, having first been elected in 1984.