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PM Dean Barrow Speaks on Sanctuary Bay Scam #537045
06/29/19 05:59 AM
06/29/19 05:59 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,286
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Lead scammer Andris Pukke along with several associates, promised clients a lush piece of land equipped with world class amenities on a fourteen thousand-acre property in southern Belize. It’s a scam that played out over the course of several years and according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the Central Bank received no evidence of the scam prior to the FTC investigation.

Lead scammer Andris Pukke along with several associates, promised clients a lush piece of land equipped with world class amenities on a fourteen thousand-acre property in southern Belize. It’s a scam that played out over the course of several years and according to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, the Central Bank received no evidence of the scam prior to the FTC investigation.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Remember they are in liquidation but people who have projects with them, who have loans, who have deposits; the bank is still operating in liquidation. There is no question of the government having to interfere with the liquidation process. I don’t know if I can say much more on that.”

“That is one aspect of it but in terms of reputational risk and responsibilities that Belizean authorities had. In speaking with people who deal with compliance, they have said, for instance, that the Central Bank. That should have oversight over all banking institutions in Belize. They would have conducted site visits at the bank. How could it have been that for twelve plus years we could not have known what was happening?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“No. Maybe you can talk to the Central Bank but my understanding that is not the duty of the Central Bank to go and conduct site visits of development schemes. What does the Central Bank have to do with that?”

“In terms of the money laundering and…”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Who reported money laundering to the Central Bank? Where is the evidence to the Central Bank? I’m not at the Central Bank and so I don’t want to go too far. Maybe you should seek an interview with the Governor or some representative of the Central Bank. All I will say is that it’s certainly not the responsibility of the Central Bank to go check on developments projects to see whether developers are I fact moving as far as they say they would in terms of the relationship between the developers and the persons that they have sold investments to. I don’t think that is the job of the Central Bank.”

“Because there are acts that deal with outlining the authorities of the Central Bank over an institution to be able to be determine if everything is in line.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Financial institutions. Sanctuary Bay is not a financial institution.”

“But there were employees within AIBL who indicated to management that things were wrong with this.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“About AIBL, I don’t know that complaints were made to the Central Bank about AIBL’s role in Sanctuary Bay. I don’t know. You have to check that with…”

“Speaking of complaints you understand that the documentation is extensive but it is coming out now that entities, authorities that victims complain to, the allegation is that you were one of them. Did you get any complaint?”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“Absolutely no, and I think you have asked me that before. Absolutely not. You can’t find anything in writing and nobody ever spoke to me about Sanctuary Bay. That is simply not true.”

Channel 5

Re: PM Dean Barrow Speaks on Sanctuary Bay Scam [Re: Marty] #537238
07/11/19 06:14 AM
07/11/19 06:14 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 73,286
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

Prime Minister Dean Barrow Vehemently Denies Knowing of Sanctuary Belize Land Scam

With a huge scandal starring him in the face, Prime Minister Dean Barrow today called an urgent press conference in which he responded to the claims and allegations made in a U.S. court document against him, his fellow U.D.P. parliamentarians and the Central Bank of Belize. The allegations are related to the Sanctuary Belize scam, described by the Federal Trade Commission as the largest real estate scam in its history. Lead scammer Andris Pukke and associates, such as Luke Chadwick, convinced U.S. citizens to pay tens of thousands of dollars for prime land in southern Belize, known as Sanctuary Bay or the Reserve. Turns out, everything was a scam and Pukke and his associates made off with tens of millions of dollars. The F.T.C. began legal actions on Atlantic International Bank Limited, which has been shuttered down by the Central Bank. As part of its civil claim, on June tenth, the F.T.C. filed documents in which serious allegations are made against government officials, including the Prime Minister. On page thirteen of the claim, the F.T.C. claims that the government supported the fraud. In fact, the claim goes as far as to say that Prime Minister Dean Barrow met with Sanctuary Bay Enterprise representatives in August 2014 after the development’s problems were widely known. It says that A.I.B.L.’s C.E.O., Ricardo Pelayo, provided Sanctuary Bay Enterprise a quote it could use in a white paper presented to Barrow about the development’s significance to Belize. Today, the Prime Minister denied all allegations made against him in the claim.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“In a way I was kind of befuddled because I don’t whether to call it artful or just a hatched job because what was said by implication and innuendo is totally prejudicial in substance dealing first with myself. Nothing factual was alleged that could cause me the slightest trouble. Most of what they had to say that I found in any event disturbing appears under the caption the Belizean government supported the fraud. Again, in terms of describing the Sanctuary Bay development as a fraud I have no quarrel with that. I repeat, as for me, nobody ever come to me and said a word of complaint about the fact that these U.S. investors thought ultimately that they were being jilt by the promoters of this scheme. I have never in my life met with this Mr. Pukke. I met with nobody concerning Sanctuary Bay. I’ve gone back because they say it is August 2014, we don’t keep records of every single person that comes to see me but I guard my time in terms of people who ask for meetings jealously precisely because scammers are always about the place and one needs to be careful as to whom one would meet with. But I had absolutely no meeting of any kind of this Mr. Pukke. They are relying for this statement on one of the very persons they are charging as defendants, somebody called Chadwick who is listed as one of the defendants had absolutely no meeting with Pukke or with any other principal from Sanctuary Bay, had no discussion of any sort with anyone about Sanctuary Bay. I have never in my life been to Sanctuary Bay. There was no such white paper presented to me. There could not have been because there was nobody with whom I met that could have presented such a paper. If there had been such a presentation that surely would be on file.”

F.I.U. Was Warned of Possible Real Estate Scam

One of the most serious allegations made against the Barrow administration is that there was knowledge of the scam prior to the F.T.C.’s actions to halt it. According to the F.T.C., the Central Bank of Belize knew about the fraud, but did nothing. It says that in 2016, Glen Ysaguirre, the then Governor of the Central Bank, warned Joy Grant, who was the head of the F.I.U. at that time, that there was strong evidence of massive fraud and money laundering occurring through this project.

Joy Grant, Governor Central Bank

“I looked up and I found that an email was sent by then Governor Ysaguirre and I was at the F.I.U. That is dated twenty-sixth of September. Four days after that, I took up my appointment as Governor of the Central Bank.” Reporter

“The allegation is that the Central Bank did not act on the fraud that was talking place. The fraud that was taking place had to do with the banking industry.”

Joy Grant

“I want to go back to the memo. What the memo, Mr. Ysaguirre said that there may be. He did not say that there was fraud and that is not said in the document. I want to make clear to every that he said that there may be, he did not say that there was fraud.”

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The notion that somehow the Central Bank of Belize ought to have stopped this fraud or the government of Belize ought this fraud makes no sense to anybody who is familiar with our system. This is not an allegation of criminal conduct such as that would get us to move the police authorities to bring charges. This is a civil complaint. If you pay a man to build a house and he doesn’t do so, you take him to court. You don’t go to the police to get back your money. There is no kind of criminal fraud alleged. So the whole premise that, dealing firstly with the Central Bank, the Central Bank ought to have stopped what was happening from happening again I repeat makes no sense. The Central Bank is the regulator of financial matters and financial institutions, not real estate development. What would have been the authority for the Central Bank? What could the Central Bank have done?”

Central Bank Rejects Allegations of Knowledge of Scam

The Central Bank of Belize is said to have been aware of the scam, but failed to act properly in the Sanctuary Belize scam. The Bank today issued a statement categorically rejecting the allegations and reaffirming its commitment to safeguard the health of the financial system and protect the pegged foreign exchange rate. It states that the Central Bank does consider applications by any individual, including Sanctuary Belize, involving non-residents because of the foreign exchange regulations the Central Bank is charged with administering. With regard to this development, the Central Bank ultimately froze the few Sanctuary Belize-related applications submitted for Central Bank’s consent for transfer of land title pursuant to Section Forty of the Exchange Control Regulations Act, Revised Edition 2011. Allegations of impropriety by real estate developers, whether pertaining to the actual transaction or the issuance of land documents, are the domain of civil courts and law enforcement authorities. In respect of correspondence by former Governor, Glen Ysaguirre to now Governor Joy Grant warning of a money laundering scheme, the Central Bank says it was an informal message regarding ongoing disputes between Sanctuary Belize investors and without any evidence of the alleged fraud.

Sanctuary Bay Defrauded American Investors Only

Notwithstanding the Central Bank’s role as the country’s financial regulator, questions are being asked about its apparent lack of oversight in respect of the Sanctuary Bay real estate scam. When asked about the matter, Governor Joy Grant reiterated that the transaction involved Americans solely and that A.I.B.L. was not necessarily out of line in the manner in which it operated with its clients.

Joy Grant, Governor, Central Bank of Belize

“This was a real estate deal, it wasn’t a banking deal and this was between Americans and Americans, so we don’t go in to a bank in our reviews looking or did we find any such fraud.” Reporter

“Is it not clear from the record, and I have not seen the unexcavated record, I only know anecdotally, is it not apparent that the A.I.B.L. was operating a bit fast and loose insofar as they were taken accounts from persons within Belize which perhaps would not have been the prescribed course of action and their portfolio was expanding very quickly and perhaps unsustainably?”

Joy Grant

“No, I would not say that.”

Channel 5

Prime Minister's Press Conference, Setting The Record Straight On Sanctuary Bay - July 10th, 2019

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