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So What's Really Going On Here Now?
Most shareholders of New World Oil and Gas plc understandably but mistakenly thought that they had invested in an oil and gas exploration company. In fact they had invested in a Jersey (Channel Islands) Unregulated Exchange Traded Fund (UETF). UETFs were explained and Ministerially approved/justified at the time here (together with a recent report on the Minister's career):
"When funds go through
the portal, Jersey ADVISERS will ensure that the promoters are not INVOLVED IN MONEY LAUNDERING or have a REPUTATION FOR RECKLESSNESS.
Everyone who operates here wants to make sure the island maintains its REPUTATION.
Technical Director "Jersey Finance", run as a not-for-profit marketing organisation,
was formed to represent and promote Jersey as an international
financial centre of excellence and is funded by members of the local
finance industry and the
States of Jersey Government.
Introduced in 2008, by 2016 these UETFs had been recognised by the Jersey authorities as being open to misuse. Such misuse was determined to be bad for the image of "Jersey plc". They are therefore being phased out and no new UETFs will be registered as explained here:
Being no longer traded on AIM, NWOG couldn't remain as a UETF but JFSC (who are red hot on this - see below) decided to examine the company for compliance with Jersey money laundering regulations before allowing it to formally change its status as it is required to do if it doesn't resume secondary trading on a market. The resulting Public Statement, whose two pages took over seven months to write, can be found here together with a comment on the "Jersey Way" of dealing with issues of REPUTATION:
"At its heart is the Jersey Way. More than that, it is, as the
panel observed, expressly about the Jersey Way in its sinister,
controlling, ‘protection of powerful interests and resistance to change,
even when change is patently needed’ manifestation. There’s
much in the report to support this contention, not least the focus on
cover-up and the protection of the Island’s reputation. But the biggest
obstacle to true reform and progress is that the Jersey Way is
hard-wired into Jersey’s establishments".
Without naming or penalising anyone, JFSC concluded that from 2011 to February 2017 the Board of NWOG had failed to meet its legal responsibilities regarding monitoring and reporting of suspicious share transactions that might be related to money laundering. NWOG was directed to hold an EGM to decide what to do next. This addressed the need for a change in status or a resumption of Exchange trading somewhere and concluded that a change of status was necessary. Shareholders approved the proposal to change the name of the company, agreed it should revert to a holding company and agreed to the initiation of a move to the British Virgin Islands.
Shareholders will appreciate that advisors and directors appear to have failed to perform to the required standard of anti-money laundering processes until forced to do so by JFSC three months after de-listing from AIM. When thinking about NWOG and money laundering, shareholders should bear in mind the relationship between the Sztyk family and the Ablyazov Syndicate.