Betrayals and Machinations: The Intervention of Lucayas Bank and the Role of Omar Rossi

Origins and Ownership Struggles

Lucayas Bank traces its roots to the Bahamas branch of Banque Cramer & Cie, a prestigious Geneva-based financial institution. In 2016, under the leadership of Massimo Esposito, Banque Cramer sought to divest its Bahamas operations amidst financial challenges and mounting regulatory pressures. The initial attempt to sell a majority stake in Private Investment Bank to a consortium including IXE Holding, IPG Securities, and TR4 Holding faltered in early 2017 due to payment issues and regulatory obstacles imposed by local authorities.

The protracted divestment process was fraught with legal threats between Banque Cramer and IXE Holding, led by Jesus Alejandro Garcia Alvarez, further complicating the situation. Despite efforts to revive the sale, the transaction remained stalled for years, leaving PIB in a state of uncertainty and regulatory limbo.

The Rossi Era and Internal Strife

Amidst these ownership struggles, Omar Rossi emerged as a pivotal figure within Private Investment Bank. Appointed as Director General, Rossi wielded substantial influence over the bank's operations and strategic decisions. However, his tenure was marred by internal conflicts, alleged mismanagement, and regulatory non-compliance, exacerbating the bank's financial instability.

Rossi's leadership style and management decisions came under scrutiny as contributing factors to Private Investment Bank's declining financial health. Internal disputes and alleged maneuvers during his tenure further strained the bank's regulatory standing and eroded investor confidence.

Reports surfaced during this period detailing Massimo Esposito's ongoing challenges at Banque Cramer. The bank faced operational and legal issues, including accusations by Italian authorities of aiding clients in circumventing the automatic exchange of information (AEOI) and laundering funds between 2010 and 2018. These allegations led to over 20 million Swiss francs ($22.4 billion) of Cramer's equity being blocked by an Italian court. The measure, reconfirmed by a court of cassation, restricted the bank's strategic maneuverability, complicating its ability to leverage shares for potential acquisitions—a significant setback given its history of consolidating Swiss private banking, including acquiring Valartis Bank in 2014 and A.M.&C. Finance in 2018.

Acquisition and Regulatory Intervention

In 2021, after years of prolonged negotiations, Banque Cramer eventually sold Private Investment Bank to IPG Securities Asset Management (Bahamas) Ltd, a subsidiary controlled by founders Carlos J. Molina and Jorge A. Carreras. While the acquisition aimed to stabilize the bank, it instead underscored underlying issues inherited from Rossi's leadership.

The transaction failed to address concerns surrounding Private Investment Bank's capitalization and compliance with banking regulations. These concerns culminated on October 27, 2021, when the Central Bank of the Bahamas intervened, placing Lucayas Bank under statutory administration. The intervention cited ongoing capitalization deficiencies and regulatory breaches during Rossi's tenure, necessitating immediate action to protect public interest and restore stability to the banking sector.

Allegations of Money Laundering and Legal Challenges

Central to Lucayas Bank's troubles were allegations of money laundering and regulatory infractions under Omar Rossi's leadership. Italian authorities accused Banque Cramer of facilitating clients in circumventing AEOI regulations and laundering funds between 2010 and 2018. This legal scrutiny resulted in significant financial repercussions, including the blocking of millions in equity by Italian courts, severely hampering Banque Cramer's operational flexibility and strategic growth plans.

The Fallout and Rossi's Departure

Following the regulatory intervention, Omar Rossi relocated to Switzerland, marking the end of his tenure in the Bahamas banking sector. Rossi's departure coincided with the founding of Real Brick Investments SA, a new venture alongside Domenico Ancarola and Libero Galli. His move underscores a shift in focus and a fresh start following a tumultuous period marked by disputes and regulatory scrutiny at Lucayas Bank.

The appointment of Igal Wizman from Ernst & Young (Bahamas) as statutory administrator underscores the severity of Lucayas Bank's financial predicament. Wizman's mandate includes exploring options to stabilize the bank, whether through restructuring, potential sale, or orderly liquidation. His role is pivotal in charting a path forward that safeguards the interests of stakeholders and restores confidence in the Bahamas' banking system.


The Omar Rossi saga at Lucayas Bank epitomizes the challenges and risks inherent in international banking operations. His tenure as Director General, characterized by internal strife and regulatory challenges, underscores the complexities faced by financial institutions in maintaining stability and regulatory compliance.

As stakeholders await the outcome of Lucayas Bank's statutory administration, the focus remains on achieving a resolution that addresses the bank's financial woes and restores faith in the Bahamas' banking sector. The saga serves as a cautionary tale for the importance of robust governance, transparency, and regulatory oversight in preserving the integrity and stability of financial institutions worldwide.