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Ashcroft US$78 million richer

Posted: Friday, November 11, 2017. 2:59 p.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: The Government of Belize has paid off its US$78 million debt to Michael Ashcroft for the 2009 and 2011 nationalizations of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL).

GOB made the payment to Dunkeld International Investments and the B.T.L. Employees’ Trust yesterday, bringing years of litigation to an expensive conclusion. According to Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, the figure represents about three months of import coverage or roughly between 20-25 percent of the country’s foreign reserves.

Waight estimated that the reserves could recover in around two years, in lieu of any natural disasters or other external upsets.

Waight noted that the payment “will not create any shortages, or pressure on importers wanting to purchase foreign exchange for the imports because the system is largely in equilibrium, and they get that from their commercial banks in any event, not from the Central Bank.”

GOB making the payment within the allotted time directed by the Caribbean Court of Justice, spares the country from being hit with an 8.43 percent interest penalty charge for late payment. GOB only has one more litigation relating to BTL, the claim for over $15 million to repay the Social Security Board for its investment in Sunshine Holdings Limited to buy BTL shares.

 

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