Bruce Rappaport

Bruce Rappaport


Bruce Rappaport


Bruce Rappaport, who died in 2010, was a controversial international banker and philanthropist associated with a number of criminal investigations. He primarily was associated with activities which occurred in Antigua, known as a tax haven for illicit transactions, and was often associated with the nation's controversial prime minister Lester Bird.


in 1983, Bruce Rappaport founded the Swiss American Bank Ltd. in Antigua. This institution was sued in 1999 by the United States government on behalf of John E. Fitzgerald, a financier who had agreed to a plea bargain in return for testifying about laundering $7 million through the bank. The lawsuit alleged that rather than returning the funds to the United States, Swiss American Bank Ltd. distributed the funds between payments to the government of Antigua and Barbados, as well as a sum entered into a privately held account in the Bank of Barbados. This legal action against Bruce Rappaport did not proceed.


In 2006, Bruce Rappaport was sued by the government of Antigua and Barbados for criminal offenses dating back to 1984, when the government contracted with the Japanese company IHI for the construction of a power plant and another desalination plant. Subsequently, the government was unable to maintain its payments for this contract, as well as two separate debts to the companies Foster Wheeler and Credit Suisse.


In response, in March 1990 Bruce Rappaport was placed in charge of making the appropriate payments, and was reauthorized in November 1996 to renegotiate the terms of the loans. It was agreed that Bruce Rappaport's company IHI Debt Settlement Company would would receive a monthly payment of $403,334 for 25 years for the purposes of paying all debts. At this time, another Bruce Rappaport company — the West Indies Oil Company — was granted an extension on its monopoly right to import oil into Antigua and Barbados.


A government investigation which began in 1997 determined that between December 1996 and January 1996, the payments collected by Bruce Rappaport were greatly in excess of what was owed to IHI and other debt payments. A complicated series of financial transfers placed excess sums totaling $14,414,904 were deposited in a number of bank accounts, including one maintained in Miami.


As a result, in 2006 the government of Antigua and Barbados obtained an injunction in Miami court freezing the transfer of all assets from the Miami bank. The lawsuit was dropped when Bruce Rappaport agreed to make a payment of $12 million to the government of Antigua and Barbados in return for immunity from prosecution.


Bruce Rappaport was a subject of interest in a number of other investigations concerning corruption and misappropriation of funds. For example, in 1999 a lawsuit was filed against the Bank of New York-InterMaritime as part of a larger investigation regarding the money laundering of some $10 billion, primarily in money obtained by Russian criminal enterprises.

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