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Cayman financier, questioned in Irish political scandal, dead at 55

July 30, 1997

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) _ John Furze, a prominent businessman who helped transform the Cayman Islands into a premier offshore banking center, has died at age 55, hospital officials said Tuesday.

Furze suffered a heart attack on July 15 and was taken to Baptist Hospital in Miami, according to officials from the Cayman hospital in George Town. He died July 21 of complications from heart surgery, they said.

Furze was a dominant financial force in this British Caribbean colony for 30 years, helping to develop its offshore banking industry.

Furze was named during a recent investigation into $2 million in payments to former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey.

Ben Dunne, former director of Dunne Stores, Ireland’s leading supermarket and clothing group, allegedly deposited the funds in a London bank account in Furze’s name. Furze denied he had ever met Dunne, and said he only met Haughey once.

He helped set up the local operation of Guinness and Mahon, a Dublin merchant bank, in 1971. Furze stayed with the bank until breaking off to run his own insurance company in the islands in 1995.

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