At the beginning of the year, Cayman islanders were dismayed to discover that their PM, McKeeva Bush, returned from a holiday with family and friends on a private jet. The premier felt it was of no one’s business on whose private Gulfstream jet he travelled but the Cayman media found out that a certain Luxembourg company, Pillar Securitisation sarl, owns the jet.
Icelog readers will know that Pillar Securitisation is the ‘bad bank’ of the collapsed Kaupthing Luxembourg. Its administrator is Banque Havilland that took over the Kaupthing operation in Luxembourg. The jet was built in 2000, first registered in the USA as N602PL, then in the Cayman Island as VP-CLA belonging to International Jet Club that rents out and runs private jets. Now it’s registered in the Isle of Man as M-ABCT.
There are two things of interest here: the close connection between Havilland and the Cayman Island, a notorious tax haven and secrecy jurisdiction and then implicitly between Havilland’s owners, the Rowland family, and the Cayman PM – and the fact that Pillar owns and runs a jet.
Private jets are often chartered out but in this case the Gulfstream registration excludes that possibility since it doesn’t allow it to be chartered. Consequently, the PM seems to have been travelling on the Gulfstream by invitation only. And he, or someone he knows, must be pretty close to Pillar and its owners.
It’s also intriguing that Pillar owns a jet. I would have thought that an administrator is bound by the interests of the creditors to maximise the value of the assets instead of spending money on jetting dignitaries around the world. But perhaps Pillar is set up in some special way so as to make a jet ownership acceptable. I sent a query earlier this week to Havilland for an explanation but got no answer.
Last year, Havilland’s owner David Rowland was set to become the treasurer of the UK Conservative party. Daily Mail got all itchy over this and dug out a lot of intriguing and compromising stories about Rowland who then suddenly realised that he was far too busy and really didn’t have the time for this unpaid but influential post. He has been one of the biggest donors to the Conservative party over the last years.
It will be interesting to see if the Conservatives, now in government, will do any more than Labour in throwing light on the murky offshore world, which to a great degree belongs to the remnants of the British Empire. The interesting ties between Pillar and the Cayman rulers yet again raises the question if there is a connection between the political inertia regarding the offshore havens and political donations from those who thrive on offshore businesses.
*I have earlier blogged on Havilland and the Rowlands: Havilland dismisses its CEO Gudmundsson; Havilland and the Kaupthing investigation; on Rowland and other Tory connection; what the Daily Mail had to say about Rowland and more on Rowland; the Icelandic investment bank Straumur has sued Jonathan Rowland regarding share buying; Havilland tries to hinder that the OSP get information from Luxembourg.
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