GOB and Ashcroft headed to Supreme Court

Posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017. 2:22 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff:The government of Belize and the Belize Bank Limited, owned by Michael Ashcroft, are headed to the Supreme Court of Belize in March for another round of legal battles.

Both sides went before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on Monday, who set the trial date for March 13. Counsel for Belize Bank, Eamon Courtenay S.C., explained that the Belize Bank is challenging the injunction that GOB received from the court, which prohibits the bank from attaching Belize’s foreign assets abroad, to settle an arbitration award.

Courtenay said that the Bank wants Belize’s “reserves”, not its “assets” in the US, because “assets” are protected by the Foreign Services Immunities Act in US law.

Attorney for GOB Denys Barrow, explained that GOB had gotten the injunction on February 3rd, on the same day the BBL was in the US courts trying to get the arbitration award enforced. 

The Belize Bank Ltd. is trying to enforce the award it won in 2009 in the London International Court of Arbitration, after GOB, under the administration of Prime Minister Dean Barrow, refused to acknowledge terms in an Accommodation Agreement signed with the Bank under former Prime Minister Said Musa. 

In January, the United States Supreme Court dismissed GOB’s appeal in the cases of Belize v. BCB Holdings Limited et al. and Belize v. Belize Social Development Limited. Both the judgements, totaled over $US 50 million, with over US $22 million being owed to Ashcroft’s Belize Bank.

The Prime Minister came under public criticism last week, after Michael Ashcroft, in an exclusive interview with Channel 5, announced that Barrow’s law firm, Barrow and Williams, owns shares in Belize Bank.

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