The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Wayne

The New Year street dec­o­ra­tions were still in place when the prime min­is­ter dis­cov­ered him­self in the cen­ter of a con­tro­versy in­volv­ing an al­leged money laun­derer. By one news­pa­per ac­count, an uniden­ti­fied mil­lion­aire had pur­chased not only prime property in the north of the is­land, but also some of Saint Lucia’s more re­spected cit­i­zens. Re­port­edly the man was heard brag­ging to ex­pa­tri­ate boozer bud­dies about his re­la­tion­ship with the home af­fairs min­is­ter Velon John, whom he al­leged was help­ing him to se­cure cer­tain cru­cial pieces of doc­u­men­ta­tion he needed to es­tab­lish him­self legally on the is­land.

No sur­prise that the “mil­lion­aire English­man” also claimed to be “a per­sonal friend of Kenny An­thony.” Just in case there were among its read­ers some who might dis­miss the quoted boast as boozy blath­er­ing, the pa­per of­fered the sober­ing news that when its most trusted re­porter con­fronted them with his story, the re­cently elected prime min­is­ter and his le­gal af­fairs min­is­ter “re­mem­bered the for­eign gen­tle­man’s name but de­nied any con­nec­tions with him!”

An­other pa­per re­ported that the prime min­is­ter “vaguely” re­called be­ing in­tro­duced by a prom­i­nent lo­cal businessman to the os­ten­si­ble mil­lion­aire buyer of in­flu­ence. It didn’t take long be­fore I dis­cov­ered the sto­ries had orig­i­nated from a sin­gle source; bet­ter to say a twin source: a moon­light­ing po­lice­man and a dis­grun­tled real es­tate agent, from whom the cen­tral fig­ure in the money-laun­der­ing story—a Great Bri­tain na­tive named Shaun Mur­phy—had promised to pur­chase a $400,000 property, then abruptly changed his mind. Al­though the two­some had known Mur­phy and his wife for al­most a year, it was only af­ter their deal fell through that the real es­tate agent and his po­lice friend squealed to the au­thor­i­ties— and the press. Nev­er­the­less, the po­lice told me their own over­seas in­ves­ti­ga­tions had un­cov­ered noth­ing dis­turb­ing in Shaun Mur­phy’s back­ground. As for the news­pa­per re­ports, their au­thors had seen no press­ing need to of­fer Mur­phy’s side to read­ers.

The same businessman who had taken the mil­lion­aire businessman to meet Kenny An­thony in­tro­duced us in the hope I might clear the clouds of pub­lic sus­pi­cion that had started to gather around the su­per-clean new prime min­is­ter, thanks to the pub­lished sto­ries. Mur­phy im­me­di­ately vol­un­teered to an­swer what­ever ques­tions I might have. He also agreed with­out hes­i­ta­tion to be a guest on my TV show

Straight Up. He promised to sup­ply ev­i­den­tiary sup­port for what­ever he told me. And he did. Mur­phy said he had never been to the United States, con­firmed he was a na­tive Bri­ton and vol­un­teered that he was also a cit­i­zen of France with a French pass­port. He also re­vealed that his meet­ing with Kenny An­thony out­side the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice had lasted only a few min­utes. The prime min­is­ter was on the oc­ca­sion en-route to an ur­gent ap­point­ment, Mur­phy re­called. Also: “I told him about my plans to es­tab­lish a lux­ury-hous­ing project in Saint Lucia and the prime min­is­ter wished me well.”

As for the whis­tle-blow­ing real es­tate agent, Mur­phy said the lo­cal man’s cousin in­tro­duced them. Ini­tially, they got on well. Mur­phy’s new friend, a not so well off rel­a­tive of a wealthy and con­nected white Saint Lu­cian fam­ily, in­tro­duced him to “all the im­por­tant peo­ple.” The VIP list in­cluded the for­mer prime min­is­ter Sir John Comp­ton, bank man­agers and other prom­i­nent busi­ness con­tacts. On his friend’s rec­om­men­da­tion, Mur­phy hired as his busi­ness rep­re­sen­ta­tive the is­land’s lead­ing law firm. As for the real es­tate deal that went awry, Mur­phy told me he was set to pay the $750,000 his friend wanted for the par­tic­u­lar piece of prime property in ex­clu­sive Rod­ney Bay when he re­ceived word that it could be pur­chased from an­other agent for $100,000 less.

It was shortly af­ter com­plet­ing the trans­ac­tion with the sec­ond agent that Mur­phy started hear­ing “those crazy sto­ries that I am a money laun­derer, that I had a dru­gre­lated record, that I re­cently trans­ferred close to a mil­lion dol­lars from my Swiss bank ac­count to pay for coke that I pur­chased in Saint Lucia for the Euro­pean mar­ket.” He said he wasn’t sur­prised that his for­mer friend the real­tor had gone to the press. Af­ter their busi­ness deal failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize, he and his po­lice pal—for a time Mur­phy’s per­sonal body­guard—had of­ten threat­ened to make Mur­phy’s stay in Saint Lucia “in­tol­er­a­ble.” Al­ready, his French wife had been sub­jected to “cer­tain em­bar­rass­ments.” What did sur­prise Mur­phy was that the news­pa­pers had fea­tured him in their out­ra­geous sto­ries with­out any cor­rob­o­ra­tive ev­i­dence, with­out a phone call, let alone a com­ment.

Mur­phy’s ap­pear­ance on Straight Up at­tracted much pub­lic at­ten­tion. The op­po­si­tion con­sid­ered him a handy in­stru­ment by which to de­stroy the new prime min­is­ter’s “holier-than-thou” im­age, while con­cerned supporters of the gov­ern­ment blamed him for pol­lut­ing the at­mos­phere around their beloved squeaky-clean leader. Af­ter I had asked my own ques­tions, call­ers from both sides took the op­por­tu­nity to toss ver­bal Molo­tov cock­tails at Mur­phy. In all in­stances, he ca­su­ally pro­vided de­tailed ac­counts of his fi­nances and his busi­ness trans­ac­tions in Saint Lucia. He pre­sented be­fore the TV cam­eras re­ceipts, let­ters and other doc­u­ments from the of­fices of his widely re­spected le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives that sup­ported much of what he said. Be­fore I wrapped up the par­tic­u­lar episode of Straight

Up, I un­der­scored the fact that the lo­cal po­lice had been un­able to un­cover any­thing dis­turb­ing about Mur­phy. Then I turned one more time to my guest.

“I want to thank you for be­ing so co­op­er­a­tive,” I said. “You had lit­tle to gain from plac­ing your­self at the mercy of my call­ers. But there’s one ques­tion I wish to re­peat: Is there a po­lice agency in the UK or in the United States that might be in­ter­ested in your ac­tiv­i­ties?”

“None what­so­ever,” said Mur­phy.

“What about the FBI and In­ter­pol?”

“There is no rea­son what­so­ever

that they would be in­ter­ested in me. Not even for tax pur­poses.”

“Okay,” said I, “then let me thank you again for set­ting the record straight about your re­la­tion­ship with our prime min­is­ter. How­ever, let me also warn you that should I dis­cover any­thing dif­fer­ent from what you said on this show I will ex­pect you to re­turn with an ex­pla­na­tion.”

Mur­phy smiled. “I’ve al­ready in­vested heav­ily in Saint Lucia. Sev­eral con­struc­tion work­ers are de­pen­dent on me. I’m not go­ing any­where.”

Fa­mous last words, as it turned out. Shortly af­ter the re­called TV ap­pear­ance, I took a two-week va­ca­tion in Cal­i­for­nia. On my re­turn I could hardly be­lieve what I read in the news­pa­pers. For a start, there was the pub­lic an­nounce­ment in the of­fi­cial Gazette that in my ab­sence the au­thor­i­ties had de­clared Shaun Mur­phy per­sona non grata. One news­pa­per re­ported: “A few days be­fore im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties car­ried out an ex­pul­sion or­der signed by the gov­er­nor gen­eral, Mur­phy fled the state to an un­known lo­ca­tion.” An­other pa­per quoted po­lice sources as say­ing they had good rea­son to be­lieve Mur­phy re­turned to the UK: “Law en­force­ment of­fi­cers said they were cer­tain, fol­low­ing in­ten­sive in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Mur­phy was cor­rectly iden­ti­fied as the money laun­derer who once op­er­ated in the Vir­gin Is­lands, set­ting up shell com­pa­nies and con­ve­nient bank ac­counts for drug deal­ers.”

Then there was this TV-news item: “Fol­low­ing a news­pa­per re­port that de­scribed Mur­phy as bear­ing a strik­ing re­sem­blance to a Shaun Mur­phy who laun­dered money from the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the vis­i­tor’s back­ground were stepped up.”

Still an­other news­pa­per at­trib­uted the fol­low­ing state­ment to the Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Mr. Fran­cis Nel­son: “We now have con­clu­sive proof from In­ter­pol that Mur­phy was the char­ac­ter iden­ti­fied in the non­fic­tion book on money laun­der­ing and the in­di­vid­ual who set up spe­cial ac­counts for drug-deal­ing clients. He was ad­vised to leave the state by the Bri­tish High Com­mis­sioner, who was kept abreast of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Bri­ton’s back­ground.”

To say I was ab­so­lutely flab­ber­gasted, not to say dis­ap­pointed, by the prime min­is­ter’s role in the mat­ter hardly suf­fices. Con­sid­er­ing that I had put my pro­fes­sional rep­u­ta­tion on the line in the best in­ter­ests of his good name, I thought he might at least have given me some small hint of what he planned to do about Mur­phy, if only to spare me—in the af­ter­math of the po­lice rev­e­la­tions—em­bar­rass­ing pub­lic spec­u­la­tion about my per­sonal re­la­tion­ship with the de­ported Mur­phy. In any event, there was never any proof that he was who the im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties be­lat­edly claimed he was. I had re­searched his back­ground as metic­u­lously as was then pos­si­ble, as­sisted by well-placed con­tacts in the United States and the UK. The lo­cal banks had also checked him out thor­oughly, as re­quired by law, be­fore do­ing busi­ness with him.

One par­tic­u­lar bank man­ager had told me: “Ob­vi­ously, I can’t give you all the de­tails but you may rest as­sured noth­ing in our files can be taken as proof that Shaun Mur­phy is other than he claims. Trust me, he’s clean!”

Nearly a decade af­ter Mur­phy reluc­tantly boarded a plane out of Saint Lucia, I spoke with the now re­tired po­lice com­mis­sioner Nel­son. He eas­ily re­called their first meet­ing at a Christ­mas­time po­lice din­ner: Mur­phy had ar­rived with two other men, one a lo­cal po­lice of­fi­cer, the other a taxi op­er­a­tor. The last men­tioned in­tro­duced Mur­phy to the po­lice chief then qui­etly added that Mur­phy was “a close friend of the prime min­is­ter.” Also, that he was by rep­u­ta­tion a money laun­derer. It never occurred to Nel­son to in­quire why a po­lice of­fi­cer had ac­com­pa­nied an un­in­vited crim­i­nal to their an­nual din­ner!

The next day the po­lice chief or­dered an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Shaun Mur­phy. His Spe­cial Branch depart­ment quickly re­ported what they learned “from law-en­force­ment sources in Ire­land,” in­for­ma­tion that co­in­cided not only with what Nel­son had pre­vi­ously re­ceived from a whis­per­ing taxi driver but also with what had ap­peared with­out any cor­rob­o­ra­tion nearly two months ear­lier in at least two lo­cal news­pa­pers, and was by now com­mon knowl­edge.

Ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness Week’s re­view of what Nel­son had re­ferred to as “a non-fic­tion book on money-laun­der­ing,” Jef­frey Robin­son’s The

Laun­dry­men “is an in­dict­ment of gov­ern­ments and banks that are un­will­ing to deal de­ci­sively with an in­dus­try that han­dles two hun­dred to five hun­dred bil­lion a year.”

First pub­lished in 1996 by Si­mon & Shus­ter, The

Laun­dry­men de­votes just two pages to a story fea­tur­ing “a young Ir­ish ac­coun­tant named Shaun Mur­phy, a gen­tle man with a soft ac­cent.” The book does not say when Mur­phy first ar­rived in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, only that when he re­al­ized that “par­adise of­fered un­told pos­si­bil­i­ties for a strug­gling laun­dry­man, he opened a small prac­tice there.” Be­fore long he was “forming com­pa­nies for his clients in the BVI, us­ing a com­pany to open an ac­count at a UK bank on the Isle of Man and de­posit­ing cash there. He’d then form a sec­ond com­pany, open an ac­count for it at a Swiss bank in Panama, and wire trans­fer the money out of the Isle of Man. Next would come a third com­pany, with an ac­count at a UK bank back in the BVI. From there, he could eas­ily wire money on to his client any­where in the world.”

Among Mur­phy’s clients were Ben Kramer and his fa­ther Jack, high-pro­file power­boat builders in North Miami. Ben Kramer was also a drug dealer. Mur­phy placed at their mon­ey­laun­der­ing ser­vice sev­eral of his shell com­pa­nies reg­is­tered in Tor­tola. When they got mixed up in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the daylight mur­der of Don Ara­now, the man who built the fa­mous Cig­a­rette and Blue Thun­der power­boats, it was the be­gin­ning of the end of the story for the Kramers. As for the Ir­ish­man Shaun Mur­phy, his walls came tum­bling down be­cause of his in­volve­ment in the 1983 Brinks-Mat rob­bery— the largest gold heist in Bri­tish history. When Scot­land Yard stum­bled onto him, he sang. The Brits later handed him over to their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts.

Robin­son re­veals that Mur­phy not only told the Drug En­force­ment Agency ev­ery­thing he knew about Ben and Jack Kramer, but he also helped them get “seventy sep­a­rate in­dict­ments against other drug deal­ers and money launderers.” The DEA came to like Mur­phy so much they spent three years de­brief­ing him. For his help, “they paid him $200,000, gave him a brand-new iden­tity, and sent him off to live some­where in the Mediter­ranean.”

So ended the story of Jef­frey Robin­son’s Ir­ish­man Shaun Mur­phy.

Now, con­sider this about the United States Mar­shalls Ser­vice: “The Wit­ness Se­cu­rity Pro­gram was au­tho­rized by the Or­ga­nized Crime Con­trol Act of 1970 and amended by the Com­pre­hen­sive Crime Con­trol Act of 1984. Since its in­cep­tion, more than 7,500 wit­nesses and over 9,500 fam­ily mem­bers have en­tered the pro­gram and have been pro­tected, re­lo­cated and given new iden­ti­ties by the Mar­shalls Ser­vice.”

The pro­gram is of­fi­cially con­sid­ered “a unique and valu­able tool” in the gov­ern­ment’s war against ma­jor crim­i­nal con­spir­a­tors and or­ga­nized crime. Fi­nal de­ter­mi­na­tion that a wit­ness qual­i­fies for Wit­ness Se­cu­rity pro­tec­tion is made by the at­tor­ney gen­eral, based on rec­om­men­da­tions of U.S. at­tor­neys as­signed to ma­jor fed­eral cases through­out the na­tion.

“Wit­nesses and their fam­i­lies typ­i­cally get new iden­ti­ties with au­then­tic doc­u­men­ta­tion. Hous­ing, med­i­cal care, job train­ing and em­ploy­ment can also be pro­vided.”

Fi­nally, there is this: “No Pro­gram par­tic­i­pant who fol­lows se­cu­rity guide­lines has ever been harmed while un­der the ac­tive pro­tec­tion of the Mar­shalls Ser­vice.”

If, as the self-con­vinced Saint Lucia po­lice and the is­land’s me­dia sleuths be­lieved, Jef­frey Robin­son’s Mur­phy and the Mur­phy de­clared per­sona non grata by Kenny An­thony’s gov­ern­ment were one and the same, and if law-en­force­ment sources in Ire­land con­firmed their sus­pi­cions, then what does that say for the wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram in the United States? Why would Robin­son’s Mur­phy come to Saint Lucia un­der his crime-stained name and not the crime-free iden­tity sup­ported by “au­then­tic doc­u­men­ta­tion” cour­tesy the United States Mar­shalls Ser­vice?

Why would Robin­son’s Mur­phy go out of his way in Saint Lucia to at­tract to him­self at­ten­tion from ev­ery quar­ter, in­clud­ing the po­lice? Why ex­pose his fam­ily to the fallout from his con­tro­ver­sial TV ap­pear­ances and his in­ter­views with the STAR news­pa­per?

Why did he carry travel doc­u­ments in the name of Shaun Mur­phy, in­stead of the DEA-pro­vided pass­port and other re­lated pa­pers that ren­dered him ab­so­lutely clean? Why at­tempt to set up busi­ness in Saint Lucia un­der a name that could eas­ily be traced to trou­ble?

It is un­likely the Ir­ish au­thor­i­ties, with their own wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gram to con­sider, would have dis­closed the true iden­tity of some­one in the U.S. Mar­shalls se­cu­rity pro­gram. The pos­si­ble reper­cus­sions are mind­bog­gling. In any event, how in­ter­est­ing to dis­cover that law-en­force­ment in Saint Lucia never con­fronted Shaun Mur­phy with the in­crim­i­nat­ing data al­legedly re­leased to them by a gov­ern­ment agency in Ire­land, in­for­ma­tion that the ear­lier­men­tioned real es­tate agent and his dis­turbingly re­source­ful po­lice friend had al­ready dis­sem­i­nated among the is­land’s more ac­com­mo­dat­ing news­pa­per re­porters!

It must also be asked: Was there a po­lice con­spir­acy to nail Shaun Mur­phy af­ter he re­neged on an agree­ment to pur­chase property in Saint Lucia from a part-time real es­tate agent and his moon­light­ing cop part­ner— con­se­quently deny­ing them a hefty chunk of com­mis­sion change?

It turns out that at the re­quest of the is­land’s prime min­is­ter, the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment Rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Saint Lucia had gen­tly moral-suaded Mur­phy to get out of Dodge and spare him­self and the lo­cal ex­pa­tri­ate com­mu­nity pos­si­ble em­bar­rass­ment. What rea­son did the prime min­is­ter have for such pref­er­en­tial treat­ment of a man he be­lieved to be a con­victed money laun­derer and drug dealer? Why did the Kenny An­thony gov­ern­ment wait un­til Shaun Mur­phy was out of the way and in no po­si­tion to de­fend him­self be­fore they de­clared him a pro­hib­ited im­mi­grant— con­trary to prom­ises made to the BGR?

By re­li­able ac­count, Shaun Mur­phy never re­turned to the UK. He set­tled in Saint Vin­cent, just twenty-four miles from the lux­ury-hous­ing project he started at ex­clu­sive Cap Es­tate and was forced to aban­don amidst cir­cum­stances shrouded by clouds as im­pen­e­tra­ble as Derek Wal­cott’s “fog that erases the sins of history!”

And now there is this ques­tion: Why has the Labour Party pro­pa­ganda ma­chine res­ur­rected Mur­phy, with its re­cent pub­lic an­nounce­ment that he and UWP leader Allen Chas­tanet had hooked up in Monaco, ‘where the money is,’ ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion passed on by Ernest Hi­laire dur­ing a re­cent tele­vised in­ter­view by Choice TV’s Ti­mothy Poleon?

Ed­i­tor’s Note: Save for the last para­graph, the pre­ced­ing ap­pears as a chap­ter in Rick Wayne’s lat­est book Lapses & In­fe­lic­i­ties—avail­able at STAR Pub­lish­ing or from


Nearly 30 years af­ter he first stepped foot on Saint Lucia, Shaun Mur­phy is back in the

news, thanks to elec­tions pro­pa­ganda!

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