Posted: Saturday, June 22, 2019. 9:43 am CST.
By BBN Staff: Caribbean Shores area representative, Kareem Musa, during today’s House Sitting raised the issue of the unfolding Sanctuary Bay real estate fraud saga, which he says has been a “lethal blow” to Belize’s financial sector. He added that the ongoing legal drama unraveling in US courts points to a “ dangerous, incestuous intersection of UDP politics with UDP business and international fraudsters”.
Musa called out one prominent UDP family, saying “their tentacles are deeply hooked, indiscriminately sucking up the fees from every possible source”. Musa alluded to services provided to principals of Sanctuary Bay in Belize, including work done for them by the Prime Minister’s law firm. He added that the Sanctuary Bay case, which is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) of the United States (US), has had a ripple effect for the country. Musa questioned whether it would be Atlantic International Bank Ltd or the government and people of Belize who would pay the final price at the outcome of the case, referring to a settlement with the FTC, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had told the media of several weeks ago.
Musa also pointed out a string of other blemishes that have affected Belize’s financial sector including the correspondent banking crisis the sector faced a few years ago, the wave of tax haven blacklists Belize has been featured on, and the Choice Bank, all under the watch of the current administration.
Barrow refuted Musa’s claims and dismissed the accusations as political opportunism. Barrow explained that his discussion with the FTC regarding a settlement was done in response to a situation with the ability to jeopardize Belize’s entire financial sector. Barrow also clarified the role of his law firm in several matters relating to principals of Sanctuary Bay, explaining that the work done was nothing out of the ordinary or illegal. Barrow also noted that the case against Atlantic International in the US court is a civil matter, not a criminal matter. Barrow also closed by disclosing that a settlement had been reached in regard to the AIBL matter and assured that no burden of cost would fall on the people of Belize.
AIBL has been named in FTC documents and court filings as playing a significant role in the Sanctuary Bay real estate scam, which defrauded American consumers out of over $100 million. Sanctuary Bay was allegedly controlled by American, Andrew Pukke, from inside prison in the US while his associates carried out business on his behalf in Belize. Several Belizeans and Belizean entities have been named in the FTC case. It had also been reported that UDP Senator, Aldo Salazar, who represented AIBL as its attorney, was questioned by the FTC in regard to the case. Salazar, however, denied that he was ever questioned by the FTC.
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