Posted: Friday, January 19, 2018. 10:32 am CST.
By BBN Staff: With 2018 already starting out with a quarter million dollar compensation payment, the Government of Belize is preparing for another legal battle which could end in a payout worth millions.
The appeal of IPC Corporate Services Limited, a company forcibly closed down by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in 2014, is coming up in the March session of the Court of Appeal. An independent accountant’s evaluation estimated that the forced closure amounted to a cost around $15.2 million.
The company already won it’s case in the Supreme Court of Belize when the court ruled that the search and seizure conducted in September 2014, was illegal and unconstitutional; however, the court did not award any compensation, for which the company now seeks on appeal.
During the operation, the FIU raided IPC along with Titan, Unicorn and Legacy Global Market, which were in the Matalon Business Center on Coney Drive. The FIU shut down the company under the strength of an indictment of the United States government that IPC and the other securities companies were involved in money laundering and tax evasion schemes valued at US$500 million.
IPC owner Robert Banfield, who pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy in the US, was later vindicated in the US when the court ruled that he was not a “mastermind” “ as the US government had presented in an indictment to the government of Belize.
Meanwhile, Banfield’s representatives say that the case should serve as a warning to Belizean businessmen that have clients in the US. They explained that the bar for a conspiracy conviction in the US is so low it may expose Belizean businessmen to being charged for the illegal acts of their clients.
“The USA does not have to convict the Belize businessman of committing the crime, just that he was somehow involved,” Banfield’s representatives said.
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