Cayman Islands premier arrested for corruption misused government credit card'


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The Independent US

It is famed as a sun-soaked tax-haven, a home to hedge funds, and as one of the glamorous locations for the Tom Cruise film The Firm. But today, the Cayman Islands came into world view for a different reason as its premier, McKeeva Bush, was arrested on suspicion of corruption.

For a place trying to shed its image as a home to ill-gotten gains, the news that its premier is accused of theft – misuse of a government credit card – and the importation of explosive materials could hardly be worse. Mr Bush, 57, is one of the most prominent figures on the islands.

However, the islands' 700-member Chamber of Commerce said the 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".

Meanwhile, Leonard Dilbert, Mr McKeeva's chief of staff, said the premier will continue working as the three-island territory's leader amid the ongoing police investigations. "There have been no charges," Mr Dilbert stressed to the Associated Press.

The islands – a British protectorate – are home to around 9,000 hedge funds that invest money from around the globe.

Mr Bush led the government between November 2001 and May 2005 and won power back again in 2009.

A glossy magazine promoting the islands a few years ago ran a profile of Mr Bush that described how he had risen "from humble beginnings" to become "the most powerful leader in the history of the Cayman Islands".