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#495536 - 09/09/14 09:19 PM Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan
Marty Offline
IPC Management Services LLC, a Belize-based investment firm, and its founder were accused of a $500 million scheme to launder money and hide investments as part of a U.S. crackdown on tax evasion.

Robert Bandfield, a U.S. citizen, was charged in an indictment unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court with conspiring to commit securities fraud, tax fraud and money laundering. Five other individuals and six companies are accused of taking part in the plan that involved as many as 100 U.S. clients, according to prosecutors.

The defendants “set up sham companies with figureheads at the helm in an attempt to deceive U.S. law enforcement and regulators and bragged about their scheme to their clients,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement today.

Unlike in many other countries, the U.S. taxes citizens on their worldwide income regardless of where they actually live. U.S. officials have been cracking down on possible tax sheltering in foreign accounts. Overseas payments have also become subject to new disclosure requirements.

Starting in January 2009, the group began “masquerading as financial professionals,” concocting inter-related schemes in which they used offshore companies to conceal clients’ ownership interests in U.S. companies, prosecutors said. The group also manipulated stock prices in those companies and helped the clients evade U.S. tax reporting requirements as well as launder proceeds, prosecutors said.

Bandfield was arrested today in Miami. The other defendants have residences in Belize, prosecutors said.

Titan International Securities Inc., Legacy Global Markets S.A. and Unicorn International Securities LLC were among the companies also charged.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed a related lawsuit today.

The case is U.S. V. Bandfield et al, 14-cr-00476, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

Bloomberg

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#495554 - 09/10/14 10:34 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

US Says Bz Offshore Companies Scammed $1 Billion BZ!

Tonight, Belize's Offshore Banking sector is under extreme scrutiny from US authorities, and they have local police doing their work. The US Department of Justice says they are cracking the key play players in a billion dollar scheme to defraud US tax authorities.

It's playing out right now at the fourth floor of the Matalon Building on Coney Drive at the office of Titan Securities. At 1:00 pm, three police pickups and the Financial Intelligence Unit swept in, reportedly to confiscate all documents and they may also arrest at least three persons who have been named in a US indictment. They are 51 year old Belizean ANDREW GODFREY, 34 year old Bahamian KELVIN LEACH and 29 year old Bahamian Rohn Knowles. Leach and Knowles are principals in Titan, while Godfrey also has an office on the fourth floor.

They are three of 6 persons named in a US indictment which was unsealed today in New York. A release from the department of Justice says that the multi-count indictment is against six defendants, including the three we already named and Robert Bandfield, who is a U.S. citizen very well known in Belize's Offhsore Banking sector; along with Canadians Brian De Wit and Cem Can who have both been involved in the offshore sector in Belize.

Their companies were also named in the indictment. Those that are registered in Belize are Titan International Securities, Inc., Legacy Global Markets which has a San Pedro Address, and Unicorn International Securities which is based at the Gordon building.

The indictment says they are accused of a list of charges including conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering.

Bandfield has already been arrested and will appear in a new York Court tomorrow. As for the others, three of whom are in Belize, the press release says that the US government will seek extradition for them.

So if you're scratching your head and wondering what's all this is about - that's understandable because the offshore banking sector can be very mysterious, and intentionally so. And that mystery is just what the US Department of Justice alleges the accused companies and persons used to break US tax laws. The release says, quote,
"Bandfield and his co-conspirators devised not only a fraudulent scheme but an elaborate corporate structure based on lies and deceit designed to enable U.S. citizens to evade and circumvent our securities and tax laws. They set up sham companies with figureheads at the helm in an attempt to deceive U.S. law enforcement and regulators and bragged about their scheme to their clients." End quote.

The US Department of Justice alleges that the accused created shell companies in Belize and Nevis, West Indies, for, quote, "the corrupt clients…(it continues) This structure was designed to conceal the corrupt clients' ownership interest in the stock of U.S. public companies, in violation of U.S. securities laws"

The release goes unto say, quote, "Today's sweeping indictment, charging the individuals and companies responsible for this $500 million (US dollar) scheme, closes this fraudulent offshore safe haven and sends a strong message to those who seek to abuse the financial markets in order to enrich themselves that we will investigate and prosecute them no matter where they set up shop."

That is strong talk - and a strong message to Belize's Offshore sector which the US has been gradually choking with increasingly oppressive legislation, basically forced upon the government. And, now, Belize police are doing the enforcement side. That's where it stands this evening. When we left at 6:15 pm, the police officers were still in the office, and none of the employees, including over five Belizean officer workers had been allowed to go home. When we left this evening, a huge cargo truck pulled up - we had seen that same truck earlier at the Gordon building, also on Coney Drive.

The days to come will tell how the extradition proceedings go - but we are very much in new territory with this very direct crackdown on Belize's offshore sector.

Channel 7


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#495627 - 09/12/14 11:10 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

How the Full Search Of Titans Int’l. Looked

When we left you on Friday night, police were still at the Matalon Building on Coney Drive collecting all documents, computers and business records from the office of Titan International Securities - which is on the fourth floor.

As we told you, police swept into their offices at around 1:00pm and barred anyone form coming or going, including Titan's local attorney Andrew Marshalleck.

We saw three police vehicles there, which is a lot for white collar crime - especially when no crime has been committed under Belize laws. But those vehicles were far from sufficient for the monster job of collecting an office-full of documents.

And by 5:30 pm, a cargo truck with government plates had pulled up to collect everything. We had seen this same truck, minus the police at the Roe building called Gordon House earlier in the afternoon. Significant, because that is the headquarters for Unicorn International Securities - another one of the offshore companies named in the US indictment which was unsealed on Tuesday in New York.

But enforcement of that US indictment was carried out in Belize as part of the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between this country and the United States. But, it was a big job; the cargo truck wasn't enough and police pickups, had to pull up to carry away some of Titan's records.

After one pickup bed was full - another pulled up, and the purpose of those American flags emblazoned on the front fender became clearer than ever. The police officers from the US funded anti drug unit were doing the heavy lifting nominally for the Financial Intelligence unit, but really for the US Department of Justice. They removed thousands of documents, all of which really have no use to Belizean law enforcement - and will presumably be handed over to the US.


After they filled up all the pickups, they then had to bring an SUV - this one without a US Flag on it - for the remainder of the Titan's possessions.

Another police SUV, this one with a US flag also had to be filled up - using every container possible - up to garbage bins - from the Titan office. In all, it didn't end until just after 9:00pm - eight hours after it started at 1:00 pm. It was a massive operation between police and the Financial Intelligence Unit, involving more than a dozen police officers, and at least six police vehicles. But, an unusual operation because no one was arrested or detained. And the three persons who were in the building and have been named in the US indictment, were free to go, without any limitation on their movement. They are 51 year old Belizean ANDREW GODFREY,34 year old Bahamian KELVIN LEACH and 29 year old Bahamian Rohn Knowles. Leach and Knowles are principals in Titan, while Godfrey also has an office on the fourth floor.

According to a release on Tuesday form the US Department of Justice, they will seek to extradite all three persons to face trial in the United States. But, no extradition procedures have been initiated with Belizean authorities so they are free to move in and out of Belize tonight - but travelling to the US would likely result in an arrest.

That's where US citizen Bob Bandfield is in Federal custody tonight. He was well known in Belize's Offshore Banking circles as a dealmaker. And, according to the FBI, that's just what got him in trouble. According to an official release, quote, "Bandfield and his co-conspirators devised not only a fraudulent scheme but an elaborate corporate structure based on lies and deceit designed to enable U.S. citizens to evade and circumvent our securities and tax laws." End quote.

Presumably, they did all this though Belize where they had a number of offshore banking operations. This is big news in the States, and the website "stocksecrets.com" says that the bust is part of a two year undercover operation by an FBI agent during which the agent, pretending to be a stock promoter, visited Belize to meet with some of the alleged conspirators and set up offshore entities.

The FBI says it also has recording where Bandfield and Godfrey explained a scheme in which they claimed they could launder fifty thousand dollars a month.

And while those are the allegations mede in the states, these companies are duly registered and licensed as offshore service providers in Belize, where they have committed no offence.

And the news is this story is, the lengths Belizean authorities now have to go to in order to carry out enforcement for and on behalf of authorities - even when that enforcement casts a blight on the entire offshore sector in Belize.

US Authorities allege that the accused persons laundered approximately $500 million us dollars for more than 100 U.S. citizens and residents. They face charges in the US of conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering among many others. And while we have named only four persons, there are six corporate defendants - all Belize based offshore entities, and six individual defendants, namely, Bandfield, Godfrey, Leach, Knowles along with Brian De Wit and Cam Can, both reportedly Canadians, well-known to operate in Belize, but are believed to have left the country some time ago.

Channel 7


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#495629 - 09/12/14 11:22 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Remember CYNK? A New Report Says It Might Be Tied To A $US500 Million Money-Laundering Scheme


IntroBiz, the social media site tied to CYNK.

CYNK Technology — the (sort of) social media company that earlier this summer saw its market cap rocket up to more than $US6 billion in just a few days despite having no revenue, no assets, and one employee — may be a tied to a $US500 million money-laundering and stock-manipulation scheme, according to a report on Thursday by Bloomberg’s Zeke Faux.

Faux reports that this week, U.S. prosecutors brought charges against a group of men that worked on the same floor, of the same office building in Belize that Cynk listed as its address in regulatory filings.

Faux reports:

“U.S. prosecutors chasing an alleged $US500 million money-laundering and penny-stock manipulation scheme brought charges this week in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, against a group of men who worked on the same floor of a Belize office building that Cynk listed as its address.

While the U.S. case, stemming from a two-year undercover operation, doesn’t mention Cynk, documents obtained by Bloomberg News show that some of the defendants held millions of Cynk shares for clients in shell companies they helped create.”

Reporting by Business Insider back in July tied CYNK to a number of individuals over a number of years, including Javier Romero, who was most recently listed as CYNK’s CEO and lone employee.

However, Romero told Business Insider at the time: “According to records, one Javier Romero on June 18, 2014 resigned as President and Secretary and Director of CYNK Technologies, whereupon on Mr. Howard Berkowitz filled these vacancies. At this time, the stock was around $US2 per share.”

Trading in shares of CYNK was halted by the SEC after the bizarre rise in CYNK shares was widely reported, and through the summer the company lost nearly all of its value.

As of Thursday, shares appeared to be trading hands just a few times per day and were valued at around $US0.25.

Here’s a chart of the 2014 rise and fall of CYNK shares.


Businessweek


FBI busts billion-dollar offshore “safe haven”

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Belize police have launched a major operation at the Matalon and Gordon House on Coney Drive, two of the most prominent business centers in the area, in an effort to unravel what US authorities allege is a billion-dollar scheme through which US citizens were allowed to use shell companies incorporated offshore in Belize to hide their assets from US officials.

“Today’s sweeping indictment, charging the individuals and companies responsible for this US$500 million scheme, closes this fraudulent offshore safe haven and sends a strong message to those who seek to abuse the financial markets in order to enrich themselves that we will investigate and prosecute them no matter where they set up shop,” Loretta E. Lynch, United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in an official statement.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York issued a statement on Tuesday, September 9, alleging that three brokerage firms were created in Belize to help US citizens in “fraudulent manipulation schemes” of publicly traded companies, including Cannabis-Rx Inc., in a scheme said to be masterminded by an elderly American along with citizens from Belize, the Bahamas and Canada to offer US$500 million (or BZ$1 billion) in offshore asset protection.

The six-count indictment unsealed on Tuesday morning in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, names Robert Bandfield, also known as “Bob Bandfield”, 70, a US citizen; Andrew Godfrey, 51, a Belizean; Kelvin Leach, 34, a Bahamian; Rohn Knowles, 29, a Bahamian; Brian De Wit, 45, a Canadian; and Cem Can, also known as “Jim Can,” 44, a Canadian – all said to be living in Belize City, Belize.

According to the Attorney’s office in Eastern New York, the charges against Bandfield and the 5 others include “conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering.” Bandfield was arrested and arraigned in Miami, and the US Government said that it will seek extradition of the other accused persons.

On Tuesday afternoon, police commenced a raid of offices occupied by tenants at the two locations, securing documents in a probe surrounding allegations levied by both the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

The 6 corporate defendants named are IPC Management Services, LLC; IPC Corporate Services Inc.; IPC Corporate Services LLC (collectively, IPC Corp) located at Suite 404 of the Matalon on Coney Drive, Belize City; Titan International Securities, Inc. (Titan) owned by Leach, Suite 403 of the Matalon; Legacy Global Markets S.A. (Legacy) owned by Brian De Wit, also located on the 4th floor of the Matalon on Coney Drive; and Unicorn International Securities LLC (Unicorn), said to be established by Jim Can in 2013 and located at Gordon House on Coney Drive, Belize City.

By Tuesday afternoon, local authorities, providing mutual legal assistance to the FBI, descended upon the locations in question to confiscate electronic and hard copy documentation as a part of the investigations.

Immediately upon the announcement by the US authorities, the International Financial Services Commission of Belize also issued notice to Titan, Legacy and Unicorn that it would also take action. We understand that three of the companies which are licensed by the Commission to trade on the US stock exchange, could face a suspension, if not a revocation of their Belize licenses.

When we contacted Gian C. Gandhi, Director General of the Commission, he told us that an announcement on the decision of the Commission is expected next Monday.

A suspension or revocation of the licenses would mean that the companies would have to cease operations with immediate effect.

The only Belizean among the six persons indicted by the US Attorney’s office in New York has also been indicted by the US SEC along with Bob Bandfield, an American who is widely known as a key operative in the offshore sector in Belize. That person in question is Andrew Godfrey, a Belizean American, who we are told has worked with Bandfield out of the office of the late Lionel Welch at 76 Dean Street in Belize City.

Welch’s name also came up in a Fortune article in an exposé on CYNK Technologies a few weeks ago. In July, Kelvin Leach, president of Titan, had issued a press release disassociating the company from CYNK, the penny stock company whose worth ballooned to US$6.4 billion just before it was temporarily shut down by the US SEC under suspicion of stock market manipulation.

However, there was no mention of CYNK in the latest indictments, although CYNK also used the fourth floor of the Matalon as its business address.

In a release issued on Tuesday, the US Securities Exchange Commission said it “alleges that Belize residents Robert Bandfield and Andrew Godfrey, through a company called IPC Corporate Services, have helped clients who own significant amounts of thinly-traded microcap stocks” to avoid US reporting requirements. More specifically, ownership of more than 5 percent of certain stocks must be reported.

The US SEC alleged the defendants did this by “creating associated companies through which the clients could hide their ownership and spread the shares so that none of them contained more than 5 percent of the stock of any particular microcap issuer.”

However, the SEC said that the beneficial owners, Bandfield and IPC, were then required to report their beneficial ownership to US authorities.

“As alleged in the indictment, between January 2009 and September 2014, this group of conspirators, masquerading as financial professionals, concocted three interrelated schemes to: (a) defraud new investors in various U.S. publicly traded companies through, among other things, fraudulent concealment of the defendants’ corrupt clients’ ownership interests in the U.S. publicly traded companies and their fraudulent manipulation of artificial price movements, and trading volume in the stocks of those companies;

“(b) aid the corrupt clients to circumvent the IRS’s reporting requirements under, among other statutes, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA); and

“(c) launder money for the corrupt clients through financial transactions to and from the United States involving proceeds of fraud in the sale of securities,” said the official release from the US Attorney’s office in New York.

It added that, “As part of this fraudulent offshore scheme, the defendants laundered approximately $500 million for the corrupt clients—who included more than 100 US citizens and residents.”

The accused parties in the case?

According to the SEC, IPC is a limited liability company formed under the laws of Nevis, with its principal place of business in Belize City, Belize.

On its website, International Privacy Corporation [IPC] Corporate Services, with offices listed in the US, Belize, Nevis and St. Vincent, proposes an “all inclusive price ($1500 USD*).”

Bandfield is a United States citizen who resides in Oregon and Belize. He founded and controls IPC and has signed corporate resolutions on behalf of the companies.

Godfrey is a citizen and resident of Belize, formerly serving in the US military and who has managed IPC and reported to Bandfield since at least 2012. He has served as a third-party nominee, selected by IPC and Bandfield, to own certain LLCs, which in turn own one or more companies, the official US documents said.

“Since at least 2011, [the] Defendants have operated an offshore business designed to hide their clients’ assets behind a curtain of opaque Caribbean entities,” the US SEC said.

How was the opaque curtain set up?

According to the SEC indictment, Bandfield, Godfrey, and IPC, a limited liability company Bandfield organized under the laws of Nevis, in the West Indies, used Belize as their base.

It said that their clients paid them substantial fees to establish a pyramid of limited liability companies (LLCs) and international business companies organized under the laws of Nevis and Belize.

“At the pyramid’s base stood the companies, which owned the client’s stock holdings in microcap issuers. Bandfield and IPC, which Bandfield controlled, provided each client with multiple companies and helped transfer the client’s stock holdings to the client’s designated companies,” the SEC charge said.

It added that Bandfield, Godfrey, and IPC advised clients to divide their ownership by creating several different shell companies which held small amounts of shares, small enough to avoid US reporting requirements.

“Bandfield and IPC also provided each client with one or more LLCs, which in turn each owned one or more of the same client’s designated companies. Each LLC had two legal owners: one owned 99% of the LLC, and the other owned the remaining 1%. Bandfield and IPC installed various IPC employees or others they controlled as the owner of the 99% portions of the LLCs. Bandfield ensured that IPC owned the remaining 1% of each LLC,” the SEC detailed.

The end result was that the IPC clients retained no legal ownership of the shell companies.

Amandala


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#495664 - 09/13/14 10:59 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Taking Down Titan

For the past two days, we've been telling you about the US led crackdown on Offshore companies in Belize, mainly Titan International Securities. Well tonight, two of the Titan owners, Bahamians Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles are in police custody after they were intercepted trying to fly out of the country today.

As we've told you, 2 of them men have been named with 4 other defendants, including Belizean Andrew Godfrey, in a federal indictment accusing them of participating in a scheme which defrauded the US Government of 1 billion Belize dollars in taxes.

As we've shown you, local law enforcement has been going to great lengths to facilitate the US authorities, even though no crime was committed on Belizean soil. As we showed you last night, the US funded Anti Drug Unit, took eight hours to clean out the offices of the 3 men on the 4th floor of the Matalon Building on Coney Drive. At the end of the raid, truckloads of documents, records, computers, and personal items were confiscated and delivered to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

US authorities say they will seek to extradite Knowles, Leach, and Godfrey to face trial in that country, but at this time, no official request has been made to Foreign Affairs. As we told you, the men were allowed to leave the building after Tuesday night's seizure, and they weren't officially detained for anything. So, they were out free and unaware of any impediment to their movement, up until today when police picked them up at the Airport just after midday. 7News understands that they were trying to board a flight to Cancun.

We stress that officially, these men aren't wanted in Belize, so they have been allowed to move as they please. But all that came to an end, when they tried to check in for that flight; law enforcement in Belize were immediately called in. We understand that they were trying to reach the Bahamas, the home country of the Leach and Knowles, and that the reasoning is that since they have no business to conduct here for the foreseeable future - and since the police took every single item out of their office down to the last staple and garbage bin, they should probably return home with their families.

But that plan was foiled when police arrived, detained them and escorted them along with a sizable quantity of luggage to the Ladyville Police Station. The officials from that station wouldn't confirm, but we understand that personnel from the FIU took over the investigation and started to question them about their intentions. Up until about an hour and a half before news time, the officials from the FIU were still going through all of their belongings, and counting whatever cash they had on them. We also met their attorney, Godfrey Smith, at the police station, doing as much as he could to get the men released

We tried to confirm our information with the Officer Commanding Ladyville Police, but we were referred to the new Public Relations Unit at Eastern Division. PR Officer, Douglas Hyde told us by phone that the police couldn't comment on the detention of the men because they are only providing a support role to the FIU in this matter.

No charges have been forthcoming so far, but well-informed observers have told us that this is a delaying tactic to give the US Government time to get a formal extradition request made.

We also understand that the FIU intends to the charge them with failing to declare funds over $20,000 Bze to the authorities. Two of the men who tried to leave the country reportedly had a substantial amount of cash on them, but we're unsure of the actual amount they had in their possession. We're told that a possible defence against that, should the FIU take that route, is that they were not even given the opportunity because as soon as the authorities at the airport positively identified them, they were pulled out and taken to the station. Around 5:30pm, they were transferred to the Queen Street police station - where they are still being held.

So, that's where it is right now. The decision, we're told, has already been made to charge the men with that financial offense, but the actual paperwork to prepare it is in process.

Channel 7


Wanted Titan Executives Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach Nabbed at P.G.I.A.

A sensational arrest was made this afternoon at the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Bahamian nationals Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, wanted by U.S. authorities for their alleged roles in a string of illegalities related to investment fraud, are tonight in police custody.

Sometime after one o’clock this afternoon, the pair was nabbed on behalf of the US Government by local law enforcement at the Phillip Goldson International Airport where they were scheduled to depart for their home country via a private charter. Knowles and Leach, both casually dressed, were escorted by police to the Ladyville substation where they were met by officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit. There, a search of their luggage, as well as other personal belongings, was thoroughly conducted in the presence of Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith.

In speaking with News Five off-record, Smith said that his clients, in the absence of an extradition request by the United States, were free to return to the Bahamas since their businesses here in Belize City were no longer operational. They were in the process of leaving when local authorities swept in. The men have been escorted to the Queen Street Police Station, where attorney Andrew Marshalleck showed up to fight for their release. The contention is that the men failed to declare the amount of money that was on them at the point of departure.

According to Smith, however, while there is legislation restricting the quantity that can be brought into the country, the same cannot be said for the sum of money being taken out. This, he cited, under the Revised FIU Act. The ongoing matter is set against the backdrop that Knowles and Leach, along with four other business executives are wanted by United States prosecutors, following an indictment on Tuesday inside a federal court in Brooklyn, New York.

Seventy-year-old Robert Bandfield and fifty-one-year-old Andrew Godfrey, both principals of Titan International Securities, are also wanted in connection with similar federal offences, after being named in a money laundering and securities scheme which saw them launder a billion Belize dollars. Also on Tuesday, police carried out an operation at the offices of Titan International Securities LLC and took control of files and electronic devices which they took to an undisclosed location.

While Bandfield was arrested in Miami on Wednesday, there is tonight no word on the status of Godfrey, who is a Belizean citizen. Also involved in the multimillion dollar scheme are Canadian nationals Brian De Wit and Cem Can. They are believed to have also left the country. We’ll keep following this story.

Channel 5


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#495738 - 09/16/14 10:57 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Titan Principals Bailed, Re-Arrested Pending Extradition

And still ahead - we'll tell you about the weekend's most shocking murder - a man who was beheaded in Duck Run village - allegedly because he once ran with a Guatemalan gang. That story is coming, but first to the latest development with the Offshore company called Titan Security. As we reported all of last week, Titan, and five other offshore companies based in Belize were named in a federal indictment.

When the indictment was unsealed on Tuesday in New York, that sent the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Police straight over to Titan's offices at the Matalon Building on Coney Drive where police cleaned it out - down to the last garbage bin and stapler.

But while their companies records were being confiscated for US Authorities, the owners of Titan, Bahamians 34 year old Kelvin Leach and 29 year old Rohn Knowles were free to go; they were not accused of any crime in Belize - and though the US said they would seek extradition, no request was forthcoming.

So, they decided to head out, presumably to the Bahamas, since their office in Belize had been effectively shut down. But on Friday, Belize police moved in again, this time to intercept them at the airport.

They accused them of failure to declare when leaving Belize with more than $10,000 dollars. Leach had $6,300 US currency and Knowles had $6,000 US currency. They were arrested on Friday, and spent the weekend in police lockdown. Today they appeared today before Magistrate Dale Cayetano on charges of failure to declare. They pled not guilty and although the prosecution had objected to bail on the ground that they were a flight risk, their attorney, Godfrey Smith secured bail for them by submitting that the offence was a small one and their passports are already held by the FIU. They were then granted bail of $7,000 dollars each. But before they could taste freedom, they were whisked off by the police on a warrant for their extradition to the US. Their attorney Godfrey Smith, making a rare Magistrate's Court appearance, explained:

Godfrey Smith, Attorney
"On Friday after we had cleared with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there was no request pending for their extradition because these gentlemen did not intend to flee or they are not running away. They are prepared to face whatever comes, but we went to the extent of finding out clearly whether there was any impediment to their travel which is why they went very openly to the Phillip Goldson to fly because there was no warrant for their arrest either locally or through extradition proceedings. Before they were given the opportunity to approach any authority and say look we have certain cash here - they were grabbed, detained for a long process of searching where the money was found, but the money wasn't being hidden, they told right away that they had the money and of course as I said that was a stalling tactic to buy time to get the extradition request. What we got bail for this morning was the trumped-up charge of failing to declare currency of a certain amount which we always as a stalling tactic to buy time for the extradition request to come, so as soon as they were granted bail the warrant for their apprehension signed by the magistrate was issued based on the request for extradition. I believe that this state of Belize is the instrument of the United States government in relation to this particular case."

When we checked with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, no request for extradition has yet been forwarded by US authorities. But, the law does make provision for a warrant for extradition. So, tonight they remain in police custody. They are wanted along with four other defendants including Belizean Andrew Godfrey, for participating in a scheme to defraud the US Government of 1 billion dollars in taxes by facilitating over 100 US citizens in circumventing US taxes.

Channel 7


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#496229 - 09/30/14 10:51 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Bail For Bahamian Securities Traders

Bahamian securities traders, Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach, have been on remand to for over 3 weeks now, since Belizean authorities picked them up when they tried to leave the country on a chartered flight. Well, as soon as they meet a 100 thousand dollar bail, they will be free to go.

That was the decision that Justice Denis Hanomansingh made this morning after hearing arguments from their attorneys and the Solicitor General's Office.

Senior Counsels Godfrey Smith and Eamon Courtenay argued that Belizean authorities have been illegally detaining them since their arraignment for the financial charges, for which they were granted bail.

As we told you as soon as they were arraigned before Magistrate Herbert Panton, they were served with a provisional warrant for their apprehension, and then sent to the Belize Central Prison.

Smith and Courtenay put for detailed submissions that the Attorney General Ministry did not give Leach and Knowles their opportunity to be heard by a magistrate on this provisional warrant of arrest.

After hearing from the new Solicitor General, Anita Jackson, Justice Hanomansingh found that the Attorney General's Ministry did not follow the proper protocol and violated the rights of the Bahamians when they were not presented before a Magistrate.

He was particularly concerned that he couldn't find any Magistrate's orders in the documents presented before him that the men had been denied bail after being given their opportunity to plead their case.

Outside of court, we spoke to both of their attorneys about the outcome, and here's what they told us:

Godfrey Smith, attorney
"The reason he did so was that he came to the conclusion based on arguments that the process was defective, that the government misunderstood their powers under the extradition act and just grab the men and sent them off to Kolby Prison without giving them an opportunity to challenge the basis of the provisional warrant for arrest, to make arguments to bail or any such thing, so he was oblige to grant bail."

Reporter
"The sum of $100,000 each, can you explain how this was derived?"

Godfrey Smith, attorney
"It's a matter for the discretion of the judge. Yes it's a steep figure but that a part I supposed the judge had some averments to the fact that it's an extradition related matter and so on."

Eamon Courtenay, attorney
"What we have here is an unfortunately, and I guess the judge upheld it, an application of the treaty completely outside the law. You cannot pick up people on a warrant that says bring them to me meaning the chief magistrate and just decide to take them to Kolby, so we pointed out to the judge first of all that that was wrong. Building on that we made the point to the court that we are not even sure that these are extraditable offences and before the magistrate can issue the warrant, she has to be satisfy that they are extraditable and that is why a hearing has to take place for that to be done. That was not given to our clients and there was the argument that where are here guys going to go? There are Interpol alerts for them, they can't leave Belize. If they go to Bahamas there is an extradition treaty there and we pointed out that the evidence from the government did not reveal any risk. They had to basis to say that here is a risk that these people are going to go somewhere."

But, as we've told you, Smith and Courtenay have been criticizing this extradition procedure by the Attorney General's Ministry before this ruling came down. Last week Thursday, we asked the Attorney General, and he dismissed being baseless, the criticism which the Judge says now turns out to be very substantial. For context, here are his comments:

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General
"The matter is in fact in the process of going through the motions for extradition."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, the attorneys are arguing that without the actual requests, the formal documents which says that the US government wants these men. Your Solicitor General's office and government attorneys are pre-empting the process, thereby doing the work of the US government for them locally."

Hon. Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General
"I with my own view would be to dismiss that suggestion out of hand because before I left last week I called in the two attorneys who were dealing with the matter and I told them of the importance of being very circumspect in dealing with all matters that come before us. They are not supposed to do anything out of what is prescribe in our law. They can't pre-empt any action, they can't act because they think that in fact the United States will like to have this happen. I advise very strenuously against that and I am sure they would abide by their advice, so I would not entertain this suggestion that in fact they are jumping the gun, I am pretty confident that they are acting very properly in what they are doing."

The conditions of the bail is that the men must report to the Queen Street Police Station every Monday and Friday until the extradition proceedings are completed. Additionally, their travel document, which were confiscated by the Financial intelligence Unit, will be handed over to the Clerk of the Magistrate's Court.

Channel 7


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#497118 - 10/22/14 10:11 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

FIU Wants To Freeze Titan’s Cash

For about 6 weeks now, we've been telling you about the 1 billion Belize dollar securities and penny stock fraud case. In this case, the Federal Court in Brooklyn New York has indicted 6 men and 6 companies tied to Belize for allegedly participating in a scam which hid that money from the US through tax evasion.

Those 6 individuals include Belizean Andrew Godfrey, Bahamians, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, Canadians Brian De Wit and Cem "Jim" Can, and American Robert Bandfield. Among the accused corporate defendants are IPC Management Services, LLC; IPC Corporate Services Inc.; IPC Corporate Services LLC; Titan International Securities, Inc; Legacy Global Markets S.A; and Unicorn International Securities LLC (Unicorn).

Robert Bandfield is already in the US on bail while he awaits trial, and the US is seeking to extradite 5 other defendants, including Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles. Viewers may remember that both Bahamians are out on bail after being charged and arraigned on financial offences when they tried to leave the country through the PGIA. The other 3 defendants are still at large.

The case was being dealt with by the Magistrate's Court, where Knowles and Leach are facing imminent extradition proceedings. That's until today, when the Financial Intelligence Unit took the case up to the Supreme Court in an attempt to freeze all local finances of the defendants, which are being held in banks in Belize.

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin's Court room had quite a number of attorneys representing the defendants in Belize for a preliminary hearing, which was held in chambers. This meant that the media was not privy to the details of the case. After a 2 hour closed door hearing, we got a chance to speak with 2 of the attorneys about the case. They were very reserved in the details they released to the press:

Michael Young, SC - Attorney for Unicorn Securities Int'l LLC
"What has happened is that there have been freezing orders which have been granted by the court on the application of the FIU and in respect of the respondents, various attorneys who represent the respondents have made applications for these freezing orders to be discharged. There have been a flurry of applications between the FIU, on the one hand, and the respondents on the other and what we dealt with this morning on the part of the court was what we would call housekeeping. These applications are going to be heard, of course the respondents say that the freezing orders should not have been granted, should be discharged and the court has set October 27th to hear the applications."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, where are these monies located?"

Michael Young
"Various banks in Belize."

Daniel Ortiz
"And what kind of sums are we talking about?"

Michael Young
"I prefer not to talk about that."

Geovannie Brackett, reporter
"Is there any liabilities for those banks that are holding the monies?"

Michael Young
"I would not want to comment about that either."

Marilyn Williams, Attorney for Robert Bandfield/Andrew Godfrey
"You know I am always reticent to discuss matters that are before the courts because I don't that that it's appropriate. The matter was actually held in an in-chamber matter which means that it's not something that ought to be discussed."

Geovannie Brackett, reporter
"And there is nothing that you can comment without prejudicing the case?"

Marilyn Williams
"No, there is really nothing. There is a reason why the judge cleared out the court room of anybody else but the counsels, so I would be..."

Geovannie Brackett, reporter
"The banks that these monies are in, in Belize, are they subject to investigation as well, at the very least?"

Marilyn Williams
"That you would have to ask the FIU because I am not sure who they are investigating."

The case continues on October 27, next week Monday, and we'll tell you more about it in that night's newscast.

Channel 7


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#497791 - 11/11/14 09:59 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Titan’s Money Thawed

For 2 months now, the 6 Belizean offshore companies and 6 persons named in the indictment from the Federal Court in New York for securities fraud have had their money in Belizean Banks frozen.

As we've told you, those 6 individuals include Belizean Andrew Godfrey, Bahamians, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, Canadians Brian De Wit and Cem "Jim" Can, and American Robert Bandfield. Among the accused corporate defendants are IPC Management Services, LLC; IPC Corporate Services Inc.; IPC Corporate Services LLC; Titan International Securities, Inc; Legacy Global Markets S.A; and Unicorn International Securities LLC (Unicorn).

The many attorneys representing these defendants have been tied up in the court room of Justice Kenneth Benjamin since October 21 in closed door hearings. They have been trying to get the freezing orders reversed. These were granted to the Financial Intelligence Unit back in September.

We can't tell you the exact amount of the frozen funds, but we understand that it's over a million dollars in several different bank accounts connected to the defendants. That's kind of money that the attorneys have been trying to convince Chief Justice Benjamin release, and today, after considering all arguments, he did.

After the delivery of the judgment, a few of the attorneys for the defendants spoke with the awaiting media outside of court. Here's how they explained it to us:

Godfrey Smith, SC - Attorney for Rohn Knowles
"Our application was a simple one to unfreeze all the assets that were frozen by the government. Very briefly, the court ruled that all the assets should be unfrozen, meaning the restraining order is completely discharged. He did so on total lack of evidence to support the allegation made and the fact that if you wanted to restrain the assets, you would have had to charge our clients which they didn't did. Costs are for to be borne by the FIU which will be considerable and the short point I want to make on that is this; it is our view that this was prompted by the government of the United States, the costs of course will be borne by Belizean tax payers, not the government of the United States."

Michael Young, SC - Unicorn Securities Int'l, LLC
"We are talking about monies in Belizean banks which are here. The freezing order which was issued on the 24th September 2014, was issued against all properties of the respondents including the particular monies on accounts which were identified in the application, so it was sweeping order against the property of the respondents in Belize. It was an important decision handed down by the Chief Justice and it signals that you can't just have allegations which are from abroad and then in consequence of that or following upon that you are going to seize properties of companies or persons doing business in Belize under Belizean laws. There are constitutional protections which are enjoyed by persons who live or do business in this country and in fact this case had to do with that. Fundamentally what occurred is that and the court found this to be the case, the FIU moved to freeze property under the act, when the requirements of the act were not met."

Eamon Courtenay - Attorney for Titans/Kelvin Leech
"I know my clients are very happy. I think one of the very important points is the description by the Chief Justice of the devastating allegations made against all our clients without any substantiation, no evidence to support it, merely responding to a request from the United States."

Daniel Ortiz
"Sir, you clients business has been disrupted, what's the next step? Will he seek to continue business here or what is his next step?"

Eamon Courtenay
"I think there are two things; one is, first of all to take an assessment of the damage that has been done to their business, damage that has been done to their reputation and somebody has to pay for that. That the first thing. Secondly, as you know there is this provisional request for the extradition of our clients. That is something that we still have on the table that has to be dealt with and so we would want to get beyond that before the clients are in position to make definitive decisions of where they want to go, but I can say at this point there certainly would be a damages claim against the Government of Belize."

Local News reports have featured Kelvin Leach, and Rohn Knowles extensively, and along with their backstories, but one of the other defendants, who we've not reported on is Canadian Cem "Jim" Can. Canadian news reports say that he has a history of defending against similar allegations in that country, and they note that he hasn't been caught by any authorities as yet. The US Government is seeking to extradite him to face those security's fraud charges as well as the other 5. But, while no one has detained him yet, he seems able to communicate clearly with his attorney in Belize on what his instructions should be.

Today we asked his attorney about that access he enjoys, when law enforcement haven't been able to locate him. Here's what he told us:

Michael Young, SC - Unicorn Securities Int'l, LLC
"We will have private conversations with our clients on that issue."

Daniel Ortiz
"Are you able to communicate with your client Mr. Jim Can, he is missing or....."

Michael Young, SC - Unicorn Securities Int'l, LLC
"Have you ever heard of something called email? Make communication very easy, doesn't it?"

We note that he has also emailed CBC News in Canada to dispute the facts of their story which they ran earlier in October.

Channel 7


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#499089 - 12/17/14 09:47 AM Re: Belize Firm Charged: $500 Million Tax-Evasion Plan [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Unicorn International Sues GOB

Viewers may remember that infamous fraud case which shoved Bahamians Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach into the glare of the public lens. That's after they were accused with 4 others by the US Government of participating in a billion dollar scheme to defraud the government of taxes they should have received for securities trading.

During the initial stages of the operation to indict this men, Law enforcement from Belize conducted an extensive raid of their offices at the Matalon Building which resulted in the officers removing all the documents and items.

That happened right around the time when the Financial Intelligence Unit went to the Supreme Court to freeze the monies that these men and their companies had in Belizean Banks. At the end, the Chief Justice unfroze the finances after ruling that there was not enough evidence against them to substantiate it.

Well, Unicorn International Securities LLC, one of the corporate entities affected by this case, as conducted by local law enforcement, is suing the Government of Belize to recover damages. That case came up today for the first hearing, and we spoke to the attorney about why his clients want to press this case.

Michael Young, SC - Unicorn Securities Int'l, LLC
"On the 9th September, as everybody knows, the offices of these respondents were (if I may use the word) invaded by a team on behalf of the state and documents and items were seized from those offices. The matter of the freezing order which the chief justice ruled on, that is separate. We have filed on behalf of our client Unicorn Securities a constitutional claim for relief. What happened to them on that day, I am talking about the 9th September 2014 was devastating to their business and we contend that it was wrong, that it was unconstitutional and they are entitled to relief. Those relief includes damages, but they also include the return of the documents and items which has been seized. That file having been claimed, today was the first date of hearing and what happen id that directions were given for steps to be taken that would lead to the trial. But a part from that, we filed urgently an application for the immediate return of the documents and items that were seized and that order was granted by the court today. The order was made that the state needs to return those documents within 2 days of today."

Daniel Ortiz
"Have you clients discussed with you whether or not they intend to continue doing business if they should resolve this issue that is still hanging over their heads in the foreign jurisdiction?"

Michael Young, SC - Unicorn Securities Int'l, LLC
"That I am oblige to treat confidentially. Naturally, our clients will consult with us on several aspects of the case of what they intend to do and this type of thing, but that's confidential information between attorney and client."

The US Government believes that Unicorn is owned by Canadian Jim Can, who remains out of their reach at this time

We'll keep following the case, since this company's suit against the Government could result in public funds being used to pay an award of damages.

Channel 7


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