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Coye family goes to court to get its money back

Coye family back in court (Belize City)

Coye family back in court (Belize City)

Coye family back in court
(Belize City)

Wednesday, April 30, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The Coye family would like nothing more than to move on from an ordeal that cost them their father and several years of their lives.

Melonie Coye and her family were acquitted on appeal to the Court of Appeal on money laundering charges two months ago. But today they were back in the Supreme Court seeking its approval to unfreeze the family’s assets which were seized by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) at the start of its prosecution five years ago.

Attorney Arthur Saldivar initially refused the press an interview on the grounds of preserving their privacy. But he relented and forcefully made his case for why the money should be returned.

According to Saldivar, the monies in question, which he did not quantify, are separate from the $1.5 million taken from the family’s Johnson Street residence on New Years’ Eve, 2009 which was ordered to be returned by the court.

Some of the accounts date back to 1965, he said, in the name of late family patriarch Michael Coye.

He insisted that for the Government to continue to hold the monies is clearly a violation of his clients’ rights.

Saldivar noted that because of the stain on the family’s name caused by what he termed their “persecution,” Melonie Coye has been unable to find employment, while Michael Coye’s widow Marlene is past employable age.

He accused the Government of “squeezing every drop of time” from the proceedings and behaving vindictively toward the family despite being shown that there was no case against them.

As for the possibility of an appeal, Saldivar said that the Unit is past the statutory time allowed by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) for criminal matters which is 42 days.

Saldivar also addressed the matter of the Income Tax assessments of some $3.2 million claimed against his clients, stating that they do not at present have the documentation necessary to challenge the Income Tax Department’s view.

The application will be heard on Monday before Justice Shona Griffith after the FIU’s attorneys asked for further time to prepare.

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