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Financial Intelligence Unit defends handling of Sanctuary Bay affair

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Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019. 6:45 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Breaking its customary silence, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) contends that “extraordinary efforts were made” to support the combating of international financial crime in the case of Sanctuary Bay Enterprises.
But it also points out that, “the vast majority of transactions which form the basis of this complaint were executed in the United States, and not in Belize.”
It acknowledges the Director receiving a referral of a complaint by a purchaser in Sanctuary Bay from the Governor of the Central Bank. The persons in those positions at the time were Joy Grant and Glenford Ysaguirre; Grant is now Governor and the current Director is Kent Clare.
The FIU says the complaint and evidence were shared with the company and its assessment found a “negligible” likelihood of successful prosecution of certain criminal offenses under the Criminal Code or the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act (MLTPA) of Belize. It says it tried other avenues and cooperated with other “domestic competent authorities,” while continuing to monitor the suspects.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in at the end of October 2018 with its civil enforcement action in federal district court in Maryland against one of SBE’s associate companies and agreed with the FIU to enforce a temporary restraining order which would cause domestic banks to restrain the company’s assets. It instituted its own temporary administrative freezing order under the Act, but as there were no criminal proceedings ongoing or about to be initiated, it could not permanently allow assets to be frozen for restitution, disgorgement and other equitable relief for those affected. The freeze lapsed and according to the FIU, the FTC apparently chose not to pursue other legal remedies at their recourse through Belize’s civil

Financial Intelligence Unit defends handling of Sanctuary Bay affair
By Aaron Humes
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 18, 2019
Breaking its customary silence, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) contends that “extraordinary efforts were made” to support the combating of international financial crime in the case of Sanctuary Bay Enterprises.

But it also points out that, “the vast majority of transactions which form the basis of this complaint were executed in the United States, and not in Belize.”

It acknowledges the Director receiving a referral of a complaint by a purchaser in Sanctuary Bay from the Governor of the Central Bank. The persons in those positions at the time were Joy Grant and Glenford Ysaguirre; Grant is now Governor and the current Director is Kent Clare.

The FIU says the complaint and evidence were shared with the company and its assessment found a “negligible” likelihood of successful prosecution of certain criminal offenses under the Criminal Code or the Money Laundering and Terrorism (Prevention) Act (MLTPA) of Belize. It says it tried other avenues and cooperated with other “domestic competent authorities,” while continuing to monitor the suspects.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in at the end of October 2018 with its civil enforcement action in federal district court in Maryland against one of SBE’s associate companies and agreed with the FIU to enforce a temporary restraining order which would cause domestic banks to restrain the company’s assets. It instituted its own temporary administrative freezing order under the Act, but as there were no criminal proceedings ongoing or about to be initiated, it could not permanently allow assets to be frozen for restitution, disgorgement and other equitable relief for those affected. The freeze lapsed and according to the FIU, the FTC apparently chose not to pursue other legal remedies at their recourse through Belize’s civil courts as advised by the FIU.

In conclusion, the FIU states that it “has had no further communication with the FTC since November 13, 2018, nor was it made aware of ongoing foreign criminal investigations or proceedings,” and adds that “matters between the Sanctuary Bay group, AIBL, and the FTC are ongoing and will be resolved in the United States.”

 

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