Sunday, 10 June 2012

Jersey A "Well Regulated" Off-Shore Finance Centre?

George Burrow is a British citizen who has spent most of his working life abroad as an engineer. He is now 60, married and looking forward to retirement but £100,000 of his relatively modest savings have been “lost”.

Not lost through gambling on the horses or left in a plastic bag somewhere – but “lost” by the respectable and trusted bank that he had trusted for over 30 years. Of course, the bank would no doubt dispute the circumstances.

In the modern world of failing banks and collapsing national economies this may come as no surprise to many but George Burrows has been visibly protesting in Jersey over the past few weeks about his case – the details of which he discusses here in this disturbing video interview.

“Ex Pat” people like George are – or were - the very bedrock of the Jersey finance industry. He needed a safe and secure place to deposit his earnings because he was often working in places that lacked any banking infrastructures of their own.

Whilst working in Africa he opened an account with the Jersey branch of Standard Chartered and had been supposedly secure and happy there for over 30 years. Many thousands of others must have done the same over the years.

What is especially revealing here is that no amount of “regulations” can help somebody like George Burrow if nobody is empowered or prepared to enforce them.

In his case, £100,000 is considered too small an amount to fight for in the courts and the lawyers fees (in Jersey or America) would swallow it up in any case - even if he should win.

As always, the professional people and their organisations, which should be defending him, seem to have evaporated. The unique jurisdiction of Jersey is another barrier too with its strange but inadequate avenues for redress such as no Finance Ombudsman.

Some local Jersey politicians are clearly trying to help but they lack any direct powers. Those in authority who ought to hold the key to a fair hearing refuse to act, or even respond to George Burrow’s invitations.
The “accredited media”, both in Jersey and the UK seem afraid to challenge such a rich and powerful adversary as an international bank.
Even the police seem reluctant to investigate because it might not be “cost effective.”

So it is particularly revealing to hear what George Burrow has to say about Jersey’s Finance industry which claims to be a world leader in regulation and competence.
All PR and salesmanship but no substance – or as one UK journalist warned him  so far as Jersey Financial Regulation is concerned  - “it is like the Wild West.”

George Burrow’s own You tube site can be found HERE

Submitted by Tom Gruchy


  1. Chief of Police Mike Bowron was so busy over the two week period that he couldn't meet George don't make me laugh.

    Bowron is walking around town every day....

    What a joke

    What a Shambles

    I keep saying it and will keep on saying it


  2. 6. Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier will ask the following question of the Minister for Economic Development –

    “Is the Minister satisfied that the Financial Services Commission has the powers and resources it needs to carry out its functions effectively in ensuring that the Island is a well regulated financial centre that protects the consumers of financial services and products and the reputation of the Island?”

    11. Deputy M.R. Higgins of St. Helier will ask the following question of the Minister for Home Affairs –

    “Would the Minister inform members who, if anyone, has the power to ensure that the States of Jersey Police carry out investigations into alleged wrongdoing when the Police decide not to do so, and who has oversight of this aspect of police operations?”

    These two oral questions are lodged for this Tuesday. We will have to listen very carefully to the non-answers that will be given.


  3. The Investors (Prevention of Fraud) (Jersey) Law 1967
    covers this.

    Why are the police refusing to instigate proceedings.

    Headline reads:- Jersey police investigate miss selling at Jersey regulated bank.

    Is that what they are afraid of ? Well be very afraid now as this excellent interview travels the world.


  4. Why don't you put my comment up about the Irish banks? You really are a one sided news source after all.

  5. The reason your comment was not published is because you clearly didn’t watch the video interview. The content of your comment proved this with the “gambling” part of it. On top of this, the Blog was published at 9:50am and your comment was submitted at 9:58am. This means you would have read the text, watched a TWENTY MINUTE interview and typed your comment….All in 8 minutes that is a physical impossibility.

  6. The police are refusing to investigate because they are corrupt and have been told to butt out no doubt.

    Since Bowron turned up things have spiraled right out of control, come back Warcup, all is forgiven.

    How bad is that to say?

  7. Absolutely disgusting. The video will cause great damage to the bank, they would have been better off giving him his money back and writing that amount off. Now they are going to lose a lot of business and gain a nasty reputation. If this were my bank I would have taken all my money out and closed my accounts down immediately. This is nothing more than theft from someones pension pot!

  8. I feel sorry for Mr Burrow but wonder how much he saved by not paying taxes to various countries? Offshore banking is tax avoidance!

  9. Misselling, the polite way of saying fraud

    Has George written to the A.G.

  10. Same old, same old.

    Why does George, and the rest of humanity think that they must have a Lawyer to go to court?

    Lawyers are nothing but lying cheating thieves who operate under false pretences and speak in a language that NO ONE understands apart from themselves, and other members of their private club.

    There can only be "ONE TRUTH" so why can Joe Public not stand in court and speak that truth?

    Why on earth would anyone require the services of one of these parasites to simply speak what is plain common sense?

    Abandon Lawyers, put them out of business for it is lawyers, and their society that are responsible for every government oppression you have ever been made to endure....

  11. Talking to George on Thursday lunchtime, I had passed Mike Bowron just around the corner 'posing' at Charing Cross!

    Too busy to speak to him! Shame on all those in authority who are doing nothing to assist.

    This will do Jersey and Standard Chartereds reputation a lot of good! No less than deserved.

  12. A reader says:

    "I feel sorry for Mr Burrow but wonder how much he saved by not paying taxes to various countries? Offshore banking is tax avoidance!"

    An interesting comment. But somewhat misdirected in this context I feel.

    Regardless of one's views on the merits or de-merits of off-shore banking, the fact is, what Mr Burrow was doing with his money was perfectly legal. He deserves, and has a right to, the proper protections of the law.

    What we see here is yet another case of 'the small person' being treated like an insect by 'the system', because of the person's powerlessness. It happens in many jurisdictions, of course - but in Jersey the syndrome is so, so much worse.

    Here, and we've seen it so much in other contexts, if you are in some way allied to the local oligarchy - or if enforcing the law against you was in some way problematic for them - then, essentially, you are immune from law-enforcement. On the other hand, if you are an enemy of the local oligarchy, or an enemy of their vassals, then the law will be abused to oppress you.

    Law enforcement in Jersey is a living, breathing, working example of medieval feudalism - alive and being practiced in the 21st century - in which the "law" is merely a device by which the local "court" oppresses its enemies and protects itself and its vassals.


  13. I have e-mailed SC with your story seeing as you are getting so up yourselves you think you can slag off a bank.

  14. Reply to comment 14:47

    Shock horror call the JEP. Bloggers slagging off a bank what are they thinking off?

  15. "I have e-mailed SC with your story seeing as you are getting so up yourselves you think you can slag off a bank."

    SO WHAT?

    We have every right to slag banks off as they are the very source of most of the evil in the world today.

    Or are you too stupid to register that?

  16. Have a read of this if you want to know what Mike Bowron thinks of the world of finance. I love that he thought his job was "to create a safe environment that allows everyone else to get on with the job of making as much money as possible"

    Out of interest, what does his misses do now?

  17. Point of interest. It is virtually impossible to open a UK bank account if you are not a UK resident. All the big boys will direct you to their "offshore branches" - the baby boys just say no.

  18. The BBC, JEP, Channel TV, all a distant dot in the rear view mirror, behind voiceforchildren citizens media with a big story that could have monumental implications for Jersey's banking industry.

    The Joke is they actually get paid and are obviously useless VFC don't get paid. Classic.

  19. Get real! This will not make a blind bit of difference to Jersey's finance industry.

  20. To anonymous @ 17:12
    Get real! This WILL finally make a difference to Jersey's finance industry. This is exactly what they fear most - being compelled by publicity to submit to the law or face steadily increasing exposure and risk to reputation. One angry man, George, CAN bring about that change, and they are fools to ignore the power of one whose evidence is that straightforward.

  21. George is no fool.

    And has nothing more to loose.

  22. Question time should be full on with those Orals submitted by Deputy Higgins.

    Senator Ferguson

    Senator Le Gresley

    Deputy Pitman

    And Deputy Higgins himself. There shouldn't be any shortage of supplementary questions. This will be interesting. You known that the economic monster will try and fudge the question but he must be pushed on this.


  23. George, you have several options going forward. I think you can at least get your money back, eventually.

    Firstly, I would take up a campaign to involve Ozouf again, simply because if Oz plays his cards right, he can make himself seem like a whistleblower before he is outsted. he has little to lose by doing something good.

    Secondly, I would contact Nick Shaxson, whose bestselling book, "Treasure Islands, and the Men Who Stole the World," is a powerful and influential expose of this very lack of accountability in the "Secrecy Jurisdiction" that is Jersey. Shaxson's blog and the upcoming movie being filmed about the topic also may be interesting resources for you. Just google "Treasure Islands" for Shaxson's blog which contains contact details and links to the movie info, along with links to organizations around the world with a parallel interest to yours.

    You may be wrong about the potential to do something legal from the US. Any state in which any part of the business sale was conducted has some jurisdiction, and that would go through the Attorney General for that state. A State Attorney General's Office may just shake things up a bit for Jersey Charter, even push your case forward, and at no cost to you.

    In the US, a private attorney may ask a court to award you court costs and attorney's fees in addition to compensation. Usually the trial attorney, if successful on your behalf in court, will be awarded these expenses from the losing side, but also take a third or so of the total amount from your award. However, in the US, you may still be awarded millions more than your original lost investment as damages. That is only one reason why Jersey Chartered will want to avoid US courts.

    There are shabby lawyers in the US who would take your case and some who might charge you up front, but you still should be able to find one who is ideal for this case, who would not charge for any initial consultation with you, and who will be willing to invest the law firm's own money to achieve a very profitable outcome for you both. Research lawyer's reputations and make many inquiries, and also check with the Attorney General's office for whispered referrals. They know who the best litigators are and remember, the least risky private attorney for you is one who is already very financially successful with this type of lawsuit, and you should have no exposure to legal fees on a contingency fee scale.

    I would recommend contacting "60 Minutes"on CBS, and any other news magazine type shows. This story is very much like what they feature. You may want to first seek out strong support from retirement organizations and consumer groups, because they have the right personal contacts in the media world, and at all the networks, and should be particularly sympathetic.

    Frankly speaking, I am almost certain you will be offered a settlement because this is potentially worth far more to Jersey and Jersey Chartered than the amount you have lost. You are doing the right thing by keeping up this public exposure.

    You are a well spoken and likable man, and that can only strengthen your case in the public eye. People can quite easily identify with you. Reputation is vital to Jersey and to its finance industry. It often takes only one person in the right place at the right time, to bring about important changes. Good luck.


  24. "economic monster'

    Was meant to say Minister lol


  25. I sense someone is being a little economic with the truth here. SC and the JFSC are not stupid enough to refuse to accommodate a legitimate claim for such a sum, given the potential damage to both institutions of doing so. £100k is a lot of money, but it is nothing to a bank of SC's size.

    If somebody has signed up to a product they confirmed they understood beforehand, only to claim they didn't actually understand after the event, on that basis, both institutions will be legally comfortable with their position.

    If SC haven't already decided, after all of George's efforts to court publicity, to make an ex-gratia payment, you can be sure they feel comfortable enough with their legal position to dig their heels in.

    In addition, it is actually in the reputational and financial interests of the JFSC to pursue a conviction against a major institution who are able to pay a large fine for illegal practices, and if they are not doing so in his case, it is because SC have a sufficiently watertight defence of George's accusations. I know that doesn't suit some of the commentators viewpoints of the regulator, police and financial services industry being involved in some sort of grand conspiracy, but it is the reallistic view from somebody who works within the industry, and who deals regularly with the regulator.

    Of course, please feel free to dismiss me as part of the conspiracy if that makes my view easier to discredit.

  26. Excellent interview.

    Banks don't realise it doesn't matter whether complaint is on MSM or alternative media. Once it's online it's global.

    Best of luck to Mr. Burrow.


  27. The more I read on here about the Finance Industry the more I see that none of you know how it works! Carry on writing nonsense about it taking the industry down then because the MSM is a bit more in the 'know' obviously!

  28. "No US exposure yet Lehman was the issuer" sounds a bit strange and no bank investment is 100% safe period. This is nothing, I am aware of a £5 Million investment that went down when the sublime mortgage debacle started and it was through an Irish Bank.
    I sympathise and have seen George outside Standard Chartered but this is simple, if George has been miss sold a product he has to find a way of suing the bank but something tells me we are not being told the whole story as the bank must have something up its' sleeve. The other thing is that this is a civil case not a police criminal one from what I've heard.

  29. I am more than happy to video interview a representative of the Bank, Senator Maclean, CM Gorst, the JFSC or anybody else with an interest if they want to challenge George Burrow's assertions.

  30. Thanks all for your suggestions. I do have the taped conversations and the bank's internal review so I am comfortable that the bank's advisor did lie and therefore committed an offence under Jersey law.


  31. Hi George,

    A letter to the A.G. with copies of your proofs, requesting an investigation under the relevant Jersey law

    mark the top of the letter;
    "for the public record"

    good luck


  32. This is what was reported by State BBC back in sept 2011.

    Richard Ingle, the chief executive officer, said: "We are very sympathetic to any individual impacted by the financial crisis.

    "In this particular case we have thoroughly investigated the matter, and we are completely satisfied with our conduct and are confident with the position we have taken." LINK

  33. Unfortunately in sptember last year I did not have a copy of the standard chartered internal review so was unable to share it with the BBC. It is very easy for SCB to say they did nothing wrong, it is more difficult for them to address the fraud and mis-selling point by point. If my comments are economical (not I add with the truth) it is to save repeating what was already on Planet Jersey. For those who do not read PJ
    Advisor said designed by SCJL, in fact designed by Lehman
    Advisor said launched by SCJL, in fact issued by Lehman
    Advisor said no US exposure, in fact 100% US exposure
    Advisor said 100% protected...
    Advisor said can be easily sold whenever you like, in fact no secondary market ever existed and SCJL say would have been difficult impossible to sell early.
    The above is fraud
    The advisor said that the product fitted our suitability assessment wich was "vey conservative" and no tolerance to risk to capital at all.
    That is mis-selling.
    I am willing to share all information with anyone who doubts the accuracy

  34. Everything to do with banks and government is fraud George, and very well documented.

  35. George,

    Without having sight of the facts from both sides, it is impossible to determine the rights and wrongs of this case, however if you value the views of somebody who has experience of deaing with both institutions and teh regulator over many years, I offer the following:

    I suspect, and it can only be suspect, that if your case had some legal merit, it would have been picked up by either or all of the following:

    1) Standard Chartered themselves
    2) The JFSC
    3) The lawyer you contacted in Jersey
    4) The entities you have approached in the US

    On the basis that none of the above have decided to involve themselves on your behalf (For whatever the reasons given) would seem to indicate that the bank have a sufficient legal defense to your accusations.

    I suspect, given the information you have provided, and from similar cases I have been involved with in the past, that this will revolve around you having wittingly, or unwittingly (which unfortunately is very difficult to prove if you have given written confirmation) acknowledged the risks of the investment beforehand. Banks and regulators do not let this sort of thing drag on. If there was a legal foundation to your claims that SC could not defend, they would have settled already. In addition, if your attempts to embarrass the bank into compensating you have also not worked so far, it is unlikely they will fold at this point.

    None of this is to say that what you are claiming is incorrect factually, nor that, given the case you have presented, that it would seem obvious that you would be due compensation. However, the behaviour of the parties you have contacted thus far would seem to indicate that they are comfortable, in a legal context, with the bank's behaviour, even if aspects of that behaviour are, at first glance, suspect. It is the law that ultimately matters in these circumstances, even if 'right' appears to favour the other side.

    I feel sorry for your predicament, however this may be an unfortunate case of caveat emptor.

    This may lead to my comment being excluded as some people can be oversensitive to perceived criticisms, even if it doesn't pertain to themselves, however I would also be wary of certain parties you are recruiting to your cause via the internet, some of whom have a history of blind devotion to 'toppling the system' in Jersey, and attaching themselves to any cause that they see as 'anti-goverment', irrespective of the nature, veracity or in some cases legality of that cause. This might ultimately lead your cause to receive a less sympathetic ear than if these people weren't involved, as it could just be seen as another hijacked cause without any real merit.

    Much of the above is, I acknowledge, far from fair, but that is my interpretation of the reality of your situation.

  36. Has the person who wrote at 15: 53 actually viewed the video interview or indeed read the detail on PJ because it appears they still give the benefit of doubt to Standard Chartered and the JFSC.

    As an example they write " if it had legal merit " they have obviously not read the " investors [ prevention of fraud Jersey law ]1967 which is very clear.

    The writer has not taken on board that the note purchased is called the SCJL European Recovery note when in fact it was nothing of the sort. Standard Chartered were acting as an agent and pocketed £4,500 commission. Giving Mr Burrows and his wife's £100,000 ( less comm. ) straight to Lehman's Bros who then went bankrupt taking the money with them.

    A local lawyer ( with a backer ) says Mr Burrow is happy to take on the case, but as Mr Burrows says in the video interview there will be nothing left on the table for his wife and himself after costs.

    I and no doubt other investors have been watching this unfold on PJ and now here, I find it not at all surprising that Mr Harris or Mr Ingle have so far declined to put their side of the story and offer facts probably hoping this will all blow over.

    A very strange attitude in the new world of internet information. Mr Burrows has been extremely open it is their turn now.

  37. And the media don't want to know. Says it all really. They would have to do some research.


  38. The comment at 17:05 makes valid points. The world has changed a lot since the collapse and bailout of banks a few years ago. Fraud was everywhere. Watchdogs were asleep. regulators did not regulate and prosecutors failed to take strong cases forward. The media turned a blind eye. This sad state of affairs has not changed as much as the mindset of people who lost any trust they had in those institutions and protections.

    Jersey very aggressively markets itself as a well regulated and clean finance center, but those who should provide this gentleman with answers refuse to even look at his evidence or respond in writing. Until someone involved in this financial loss provides evidence to the contrary, it seems more logical to trust the one person, George, who has opened up his evidence files to the public eye.

    I think there will be an effort within the finance industry now to spin this against George's claim, but without debating the merits of his specific evidence. No one has been willing to take him or his documentation on directly. If they have a great airtight defense for this, they are not acting like it. Instead, they seem to be allowing pro-finance industry comments on this blog to defend what no one but George has explained, in place of the official answers sought, and with no reference to the point-by-point evidence George has provided.

  39. Mr Ingle or Mr Harris have no need to do anything, or put their side of the story until a court compels them to defend their behaviour. If any investor wishes to pursue them, they are obviously free to do so, but until then, they re innocent of any wrongdoing in the eyes of the law,irrespective of what bloggers may think or publish.

    All of what George has said may well be true, however if he accepted in writing that he understood the risks, and conditions of his investment, then he will have a hard case winning any compensation, which as I said in my previous message, would seem to be indicative of the position thus far.

    Accusing me of not understanding the sItuation, or somehow siding with the bank or regulator, is an odd comment, and would indicate that you have either not read, or fully understood my carefully worded original comment. I admitted I didn't know the full details of both sides of the case, and the message was merely my interpretation of why the parties may have acted as they have thus far. I'm sorry if it was of no use or assistance to you, or why you felt the need to suggest I favoured one side over the other.

    I wouldn't wish a loss on anyone, but If you were involved with the investment in question and took a similar amount of care with reading and understanding the documentation pertaining to the investment as you did with my message, it might account for the fact you have only become wise after the event.

  40. The abuse of public trust by these people need's to be brought under the spot light as many thousands of people from all walk's of life have been effected by mis-selling. They spin in the same way politicians spin lies deciet in order to get the effected sale just to pocket your money or your vote. I wish you great success in your endeavours to re claim your money, I to have been mis sold in the past so good luck.

  41. anon@15:53 and later,

    from Blacks law dictionary;
    Caveat emptor:-
    "Let the buyer beware. This maxim summerises the rule that a purchaser must examine,judge,and test for himself. This maxim is more applicble to judicial sales, auctions, and the like, than to to sales of consumer goods where strict liability, warranty, and other consumer protection laws protect the consumer buyer."

    close anon but no cigar

    but funny you should mention that maxim anon as it was used in it's proper context a few weeks ago in the royal court. It didn't help the victim though.
    maybe because, like you suggest in your comment, the victim, had "recruted" "via the internet" one of those "certain parties" who "have a history of blind devotion to 'toppling the system' in Jersey"

    Who are these revolutionaries, can you name names or are you just having a laugh?



  42. I think you need to understand how the JFSC works...

    Firstly if say the Italian government says to the JFSC 'Please give us a list of all Italian nationals who have accounts in Jersey and the amounts held and the interest received' then it is done immediately, no respect for privacy or law. There is no 'who are you investigating and what is your prima facie case that suggests that there may be a case to answer' prior to the disclosure foreign governments are given a free ride (because the JFSC gets to keep a portion of all tax deducted on their behalf). THIS IS WHAT IS KILLING THE JERSEY FINANCE INDUSTRY.

    But on the other hand if one of the robber banks who have repeatedly fleeced their customers over and over again and yet people are still naive enough to trust them then they are NEVER prosecuted.

    Banks run the governments now... if you have savings there is gold, if you walk into the lion's den you have to expect to get bit.

    Why do you expect regulators in Jersey to do anything when JP Morgan have ripped off their customers to the tune of $1.6 billion with MF Global and there is no prosecution for fraud. There will not even be a prosecution of Lehman Brothers for mis-reporting their financial position to the regulator by moving liabilities off their balance sheet for the day of reporting and bringing it back on the day after.

    Governments and Banks are colluding still to de-fraud us all, every day.

    Don't worry about Jersey regulators or government they do not even understand the game that is being played on the global stage...

    ANY MONEY YOU LEND TO A BANK IS LENT WITH A RISK THAT IT WILL NOT BE REPAID... don't have any more in the bank than you absolutely have to, every single bank in the world is bankrupt already. They are desperate to rip you off for every penny they can... at worst for every pound they steal from you they will have to pay a fine of 40p... its just good business, as far as banks are concerned.

  43. Who is the commenter at 21:14 responding to?

  44. Not a comment from any of Jersey's States Members on this or so many other issues raised on the blogs. Why is this?
    What are they waiting for - somebody to hold their hands?

  45. From the States this morning it sounds like this blog has made a mountain out of another mole hill.

  46. Somebody bothers to comment who actually appears to understand how the banks and regulators operate over here, and certain people can't help themselves but try and nitpick minor issues.

    Unfortunately for you George, you are likely to enjoy lots of very vocal support, but a similar level of success, and increasing polarisation, to most of these bloggers previous crusades.

    I wish you the best of luck.

  47. So 3 different police officers have looked at this so called fraud and say there is no case. Well fancy that. Maybe next time you try and do a story on something you actually do some homework first???

  48. Hi VFC,

    Word has reached me that the parish halls have been instructed to immediately charge anyone who turns up for a PH enquiry with me or Ian in tow.

    so much for the enquiry then!
    maybe the 'authorities' don't want the honouries to hear the questions we ask.

    As part of my appeal against conviction, I will be asking more questions the 'authorities' don't want to answer @ 2:30 on 25th June 2012 in the royal court.

    If you or anyone else would like to witness how my questions are dealt with, I will be delighted to see you there.


  49. Cyril points out that there is legislation in place to protect consumers.
    anon@15:53 and later

    from Blacks law dictionary;

    Caveat emptor:-

    "Let the buyer beware. This maxim is more applicable to judicial sales, auctions, and the like, than to sales of consumer goods where strict liability, warranty, and other consumer protection laws protect the consumer buyer."

    Mr John Harris head of JFSC and Mr Richard Ingle Standard Chartered Jersey Ltd do not have to say anything a writer tells us. Still stuck in their ivory towers protected by arrogance or should that be a non caring " give us your money attitude " ?

    It went badly wrong for the banks named in the link below including Standard Chartered, are you both so removed from this sad episode in Jerseys financial dealings which will have an impact on Jerseys hard fought for reputation ? Non so blind as ………….,2823.msg54997.html#msg54997

  50. Why do you keep letting the trolls through?

  51. It sounds like an open and shut case of mis-selling if what George is saying is true - how SC described the product (as tape recorded) versus what he got.

    They appear to be hiding behind the expense of a lawsuit to get away with it.

  52. "Anonymous said...

    From the States this morning it sounds like this blog has made a mountain out of another mole hill."

    So are we to assume you completely base your assumption on the importance of an issue on how the States do or don't respond to it?

    How very 17th century.

  53. Excellent blog and related commentary. You have placed some finance industry people in a very defensive position, and they are obviously becoming emotional about the fact that official disregard of George's claim is tainting their reputation. You have hit them where it hurts.

  54. In these comments defending the finance industry or the individual bank, there is an undercurrent of acceptance of some technical grounds for taking advantage of a customer's trust and deliberately misrepresenting the transaction. It may be how the game is played in Jersey, but that is not any excuse for human beings of conscience.