Thursday, 18 June 2009

Another one on the nod?

"Even the worthy Homer sometimes nods." (Horace (65 BC-8 BC)
This is a proposition to elect Clive Jones, who is currently serving a term as a Commissioner, for appointment by the States of Jersey to be Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission. The proposition gives a glowing report on his background.
Clive Stanley Jones: Age 62. Company director, Commissioner of the Jersey Financial Services Commission (since 23rd October 2007) and retired banker. Jones has a distinguished record including 38 years' experience of the type of financial services supervised by the Commission. From 1996 to 2007, Mr. Jones was employed by Citigroup as Country Officer for the Channel Islands and acted as Chairman and Managing Director of Citibank (Channel Islands) Limited, Citigroup's representative in Jersey, responsible for all interaction with regulators, politicians and competitors, either Chairman or Director of all Citibank companies in Jersey, and a Member of the Global Wealth Management European Business Risk Committee

However none of this covers the mention of his name with respect to the Brazil Scandal, reported in the Observer in 2001, when he refused to comment about the possibility of lax banking controls:
Brazil scandal hits Citibank (Sunday September 9, 2001, Observer)

Citibank faces fresh money-laundering controversy after up to $200 million, allegedly looted from Brazil in a major political scandal, turned up at the bank's Jersey branch. Brazilian prosecutors will apply to the Channel Island's attorney-general to freeze a Citibank bank account they suspect belongs to Paulo Maluf, former mayor of São Paulo and one of the country's best-known politicians. Brazil's parliament is investigating allegations that Maluf diverted money from public coffers into offshore accounts when in office during the Eighties. Maluf, also a former conservative presidential candidate, denies wrongdoing and is scheduled to give evidence to the parliamentary enquiry tomorrow. In Jersey, police and the island's financial regulator are questioning Citibank over the suspect account. According to Brazilian reports, the Jersey account is held by a Cayman Islands company which Maluf is alleged to own. The money was reportedly transferred to Jersey in 1997 from Citibank's Swiss branch. The US bank is understood to have become suspicious and alerted authorities in Jersey and Brazil. A spokesman said: 'We do not comment publicly on customer matters, including whether somebody is or ever was a customer.' Clive Jones, head of Citibank in the Channel Islands, refused to comment. There is no suggestion of dishonesty on the bank's part, but the affair is potentially embarrassing: Citibank was criticised by the US Senate in 1999 over lax private banking controls. Stolen money was funnelled through the bank by relatives of politicians suh as President Carlos Salinas of Mexico, and the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The episode could also prove awkward for Jersey, which has faced international criticism over its corporate secrecy laws. (2)

Can it be assumed that he would ensure that if any money came to Jersey from such practices in the past, as the Chairman of the Jersey Financial Services Commission, he would prevent them from taking place today and ensure a more rigorous regime of controls?

Here is a google translated page of another piece of information about Mr Jones that somehow did not make it into the States proposition, where it is revealed that prior to 1997, he was working in the Swiss banking system (excuse the clumsy translation):

Citibank: In last Wednesday revealed that an official document of Switzerland informed the Brazilian authorities that Maluf account maintained at Citibank that country from 1985 until 1997 when they moved the applications to the same bank in Jersey. Clive Jones, who currently chairs the Citibank in Jersey, he worked in Switzerland during the period in which the account-Maluf maintained on behalf of a parent in the country.  Jones worked in Switzerland from 1987 to 1993 and then was transferred to Jersey. The president of Citibank in Jersey is now responsible for the judicial authorities to provide the movement's financial account that has the Maluf beneficiaries and their families. (3)

Why so coy? After all Mr Jones record in Switzerland is mentioned (albeit briefly) on the Jersey Finance website, but only on a password protected page (google keeps a cache of pages, which is how I found it):

Clive's career in Citigroup has taken him from London to assignments in Seoul, Sydney, Melbourne, Athens and Zurich as well as Jersey, split almost equally between corporate and private banking. (4)

I'm not saying that he is probably not the right person for the post. He probably is. But there is a certain lack of transparency with the information furnished to States Members, and I have noticed in the past that these kind of appointments are usually carried by all members "on the nod" without, I fear, adequate scrutiny of the candidate in question. (4)


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