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Former Cayman Island Premier cleared of corruption charges

Featured Former CI Premier McKeeva Bush Former CI Premier McKeeva Bush
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Oct. 10, 2014 - A Cayman Islands jury on Thursday unanimously found former premier McKeeva Bush not guilty of all  eleven corruption charges.

Prosecutors alleged Bush had illegally used his government credit card to withdraw nearly $50,000 in casinos in the Bahamas and the United States, using some of the cash to gamble on slot machines.

Bush's lawyers did not dispute that he used the cards for personal reasons, but argued that no laws were ever broken and all cash advances were paid back.

The seven-member jury deliberated about five hours, and cleared Bush of six counts of misconduct and five counts of breach of trust in the British Caribbean territory that is one of the world's biggest financial centers.

In a statement after the verdict was delivered, Bush said the charges "were nothing more than the result of a conspiracy to remove me from power." He has repeatedly asserted that he did not break any laws and that he was the victim of a smear campaign by political opponents.

The Cayman Islands former Premier is that country’s longest serving politician. He lost a no-confidence vote in December 2012 and was ousted as Premier after police arrested him at his home on suspicion of corruption.

A few months after his arrest, Bush's fractured party was defeated in parliamentary elections. He retained his seat as a lawmaker in his powerbase in a populous district of Grand Cayman. He also remained head of his political party.

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