Yesterday in San Pedro, Police customs and Immigration boarded a catamaran vessel called the Aventura which was docked at the Belize Yacht Club. On board they found, Italian Antonio Velardo, and Swede Leventa Arangos along with twenty two thousand US dollars. No customs declaration had been made for the money so it was confiscated and the two men were taken into custody.
Today, 35 year old Velardo was taken to San Pedro Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez and charged for failure to declare funds, according to the Money Laundering and Terrorism Act.
Velardo – who was represented by attorney Godfrey Smith - pleaded guilty and told the court that he did not know that a regulation existed that he had to make such a declaration.
Magistrate Rodriguez sentenced him to pay a fine of $5,000 forthwith, which he was able to pay, and she also noted that there was no intention to deceive authorities which was apparent in relation to this case. Both the police department and the FIU collaborated in the prosecution.
The Swede was the boat captain and was only responsible for a small amount of the money, so he was let off without charges.
Velardo is written up on the internet as an Italian multi-millionaire in real estate investment and, according to our sources, seems to be interested in retiring or possibly seeking safe harbour in Belize. A puff piece written up on his company VFI in 2009 says the company, quote, “in three years has gone from zero to a sales revenue of €100 million Euros.”
Italian Antonio Velardo fined for failure to declare funds
Authorities in San Pedro Town temporarily detained, charged and then fined a European national after he failed to declare over US$22,000. On Wednesday April 24th, Customs and Immigration Officials and San Pedro Police carried out a joint operation and detained 35 year old Italian National Antonio Velardo, and 47 year old Swedish national Levente Arangos, onboard a catamaran. Apparently the men had arrived the night before and docked at a local docking facility on Ambergris Caye.
Authorities later found out that while the men entered legally, they failed to make a declaration and thus proceeded to conduct an operation. That led authorities to some US $22,000 onboard the ‘Aventura.’ As a result, law enforcement agencies detained the two and took them to the San Pedro Police Station.
On Thursday April 25th, both the Central Bank and Financial Intelligence Unit were called in as part of the investigation. Arangos told authorities that $3000 Bze was his while Velardo took responsibility for the remaining amount $41,000 Bze. As a result, authorities later charged Velardo with a single charge of failure to make a declaration (failure to declare money).
Velardo, along with his Belizean Attorney Godfrey Smith, appeared before the San Pedro Magistrate Court before Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez, where he pleaded guilty. After Smith cited a similar case in his client’s defense, a proportionate fine of $5,000 Bze was imposed. Velardo was able to secure his fine and as a result was set a free man.
Velardo, a wealthy European realtor, said he was in Belize to look at potential business interest.
Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun
Don’t hate me for being wealthy, Italian busted for excess cash
Authorities in San Pedro Town temporarily detained, charged and then fined a European national after he failed to declare over twenty-two thousand U.S. dollars in cash. On Wednesday, Customs Officials, Immigration and San Pedro Police carried out a joint operation and detained thirty-five year old Antonio Velardo, an Italian national and forty-seven year old Levente Arangos, a Swedish national who had arrived in a catamaran. The men had arrived on Tuesday night and docked at a local docking facility on Ambergris Caye. Authorities later found out that while the men entered legally, they failed to make a declaration on the substantive amount of cash in their possession. The vessel, Aventura, was searched and the stash of cash was found. Both men were then taken to the San Pedro Police Station. This morning, the Financial Intelligence Unit was called in as part of the investigation.
Arangos told authorities that one point five thousand U.S. dollars were his, while Velardo took responsibility for the remaining twenty point five thousand U.S. dollars. Velardo was charged with a single count of failure to declare funds. Velardo, accompanied by his Attorney, Godfrey Smith, appeared before the San Pedro Magistrate Court before Magistrate Sherigne Rodriguez where he pleaded guilty. After Smith cited a similar case, Magistrate Rodriguez imposed a fine of five thousand Belize dollars. Velardo paid the fine and was free to go. Velardo, a wealthy European realtor, said he was in Belize to look at potential business opportunities.