Cayman Islands leader arrested in corruption probe

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 11, 2012 11:25 AM

By Shurna Robbins

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (Reuters) - The leader of the Cayman Islands was arrested on suspicion of corruption on Tuesday in connection with a series of police investigations in the Caribbean offshore financial center, authorities said.

Premier McKeeva Bush was detained at his home by members of the Financial Crime Unit of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, a police statement said.

The 57-year-old premier is the focus of police probes into charges of theft, alleged misuse of a government credit card and abuse of office over the alleged importation of explosives without valid permits, the statement said.

"It would be inappropriate ... to make any further comment in relation to these matters at this time," the statement said. "Further updates will be made available in due course."

A police spokesperson declined to elaborate on the charges. A spokesman for the premier could not be immediately reached for comment.

Bush was elected in 2009 as premier of the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory with a population of 55,000 people and a leading global tax haven.

He also holds the position of minister of finance and tourism. Bush is the longest serving member of the Caymans' Legislative Assembly and was first elected in 1984.

Earlier this year, Cayman Islands Police Commissioner David Baines said Bush was the subject of three police investigations, two of them involving what he described at the time as financial irregularities.

Bush publicly denied any wrongdoing.

(Writing by Kevin Gray; Editing by Tom Brown and Nick Zieminski)