The Governor of the Cayman Islands (pictured) is under investigation by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Governor of the Cayman Islands is under investigation by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and has been called back to the UK just three months after taking the role.
Island Premier Alden McLaughlin confirmed the British diplomat was ‘temporarily withdrawn’ to investigate a ‘number of complaints’ against him.
The FCO confirmed it was investigating Choudhury, who was formally the UK ambassador to Peru, but refused to comment on the nature of the complaints.
‘Anwar Choudhury, Governor of the Cayman Islands, has been temporarily withdrawn from his post to allow the FCO to investigate a number of complaints against him,’ the FCO said.
‘It is inappropriate to comment further while an investigation is ongoing.’
The Governor was the main target of a bomb attack at an Islamic holy site in his home country of Bangladesh in 2004.
The explosion at the Hazrat Shahjalal shrine in Sylhet killed two people and Choudhury, who was then the British High Commissioner in Bangladesh, was among about 100 injured.
In his current role Choudhury acts as a figurehead for the Cayman Islands government, which is run by the Premier.
Choudhury is pictured with a Bangladeshi woman signing a book of condolence following the July 7 bombings in London in 2005
McLaughlin told news group Cayman 27: ‘The minister insisted that no further details could be provided at this stage and indicated that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office did not intend to make a public statement regarding the matter.’
Choudhury was in London this week meeting with an FCO minister discussing a law passed last month that will force Cayman firms to disclose their beneficial owners by 2020.
The Caribbean Island and other tropical locations have become infamous for providing a haven to companies and rich individuals wishing to disguise ownership, avoid tax in their home countries, and launder money.
The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill, amended by Parliament last month, forces 14 British overseas territories to introduce public registers of beneficial ownership, revealing who is behind the formerly shadowy companies.
The FCO (pictured) is investigating the British diplomat in relation to a number of complaints
Fourteen British overseas territories including the Caymen Islands (pictured) will be made to declare their beneficial owners
Island Premier Alden McLaughlin (pictured with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson) confirmed the British diplomat was ‘temporarily withdrawn’
The new law has been met with staunch opposition by the Cayman government, and McLaughlin has described the law as ‘constitutional overreach’.
Choudhury and the Premier met with Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, on Monday for ‘bilateral talks’ on the issue, according to a report by island news site Cayman Compass.
McLaughlin told Cayman 27 that Deputy Governor, Franz Manderson, would serve in Choudhury’s place while the Governor was being investigated. The Premier said the investigation would likely last four to six weeks.
‘While this development was unforeseen and is most unfortunate, I am confident that it will not affect the continued good governance of the Cayman Islands,’ the Premier added.
Anwar Choudhury’s rise to power
Choudhury was born in 1958 in East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, and moved to the UK as a child.
He entered the civil service in 1985 as an engineering strategist with the Royal Air Force.
Choudhury studied at Durham University, graduating with an MA of Business Administration in 1995.
After rising through the Ministry of Defence, he joined the Cabinet Office in 2000 and then became High Commissioner to Bangladesh in 2004.
That same year he was the main target of a grenade attack while leaving Dargah-e-Shah Jalal mosque.
Three of the Islamist attackers were sentenced to death and another two handed life sentences.
He was High Commissioner for four years before becoming British Ambassador to Peru in 2014 and was sworn into his current role in March 2018.