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Choice Bank drops suit against Government over closure

Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2019. 9:43 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes:  Choice Bank Limited and Choice Group Holdings agreed with the Central Bank of Belize, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow and Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte to dismiss their lawsuit before Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel on Tuesday.

 Choice Bank, liquidated in 2018, sued for damages, claiming that government and Central Bank breached their statutory duties and acted for ulterior or improper purposes. Specifically, they argued that the decision by the Minister of Finance to revoke their offshore banking license was premature and caused loss of investments.

The court ordered an independent valuation of the bank by a third party, which both sides agreed upon, to determine the bank’s true financial picture on the day that the license was revoked. The report indicated that in fact, the bank was in trouble and that the Government took the best course of action. The Bank’s shareholders therefore decided to back away from the case.

 Central Bank Governor Joy Grant told reporters, “We are very pleased today that they withdrew the case because we have always acted in the best interest of depositors, and we continue to do so. So, it’s very good that this has come to this end. The complaint was that in revoking the license, we did not operate under the act and the law. We’ve always held that we have, and that we will continue to do so.”

Choice’s attorney Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay declined comment.


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