Belize's Deputy Director of the Belize Tax Service Department, Reynaldo Verde is in a Federal Holding Facility in Virginia awaiting a hearing in Florida.
The 46 year old career public officer was intercepted in Washington DC on September 7th. He was passing through the USA on the way back from a tax conference in Brussels.
So what did he do for the FBI to charge him for interference with commerce by means of extortion and attempted extortion?
Well, tonight more details are known about his arrest. Much more. 7News has obtained the 10 page criminal compliant made by the FBI. It alleges that Verde tried - very hard - to shake down an American Real Estate Developer, Chris Williams, the CEO of Legacy Global Development, which owns Orchid Bay Belize in Corozal.
The complaint alleges that in early 2017, "an intermediary acting on behalf of Verde contacted Williams saying that Verde - who was then the assistant GST Commissioner - allegedly wanted a clandestine meeting to deal with some tax arrears that Orchid Bay had.
Williams secretly recorded the conversation where Verde allegedly told him that he owed a $1 million Belize dollars in tax arrears - but that Verde assured him, quote,"I am in charge" and Verde stated that he could, quote, "make that disappear" and that they could quote, "muzzle him," referring to the tax investigator. The3 complaint alleges that Verde then told Williams, quote, "I give you, you give me," and explained that Williams could pay 50% of the arrears. The allegation is that this was a request for a half a million dollar bribe in exchange for which Verde would use his official position to make Orchid Bay's tax issues go away.
That's when Williams called in the FBI - showed them evidence of WhatsApp messages and let them listen to the recording he had made.
The back and forth kept on until August 2019 when the two met in person. Except this time, the FBI outfitted Williams with three recording devices. The agents were also at the meeting place in Corozal monitoring Verde. On the recording, Williams and Verde allegedly discussed the tax bill - which he now put at $6 million Belize dollars. Verde allegedly requested a deposit of 25% and that Williams pay the rest within 24 months. VERDE asked Williams how much money he has available to pay. Williams stated that he has a couple hundred thousand dollars. VERDE allegedly agreed on a payment of $350,000 Belize dollars in cash.
Verde's attorney has said that his client only told Williams that he has to register his company - and did not request a bribe. He says Verde turned down a request to work for Williams.