Posted: Monday, March 27, 2023. 10:48 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The long-standing now-former Director of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Kent Clare, has retained Senior Counsel Dean Barrow to file suit against the Government of Belize for unfair dismissal.
Clare, who has been in the position since October 2016, was working out of contract after it was not renewed and left office on February 24.
According to Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Christopher Coye, the office needs some new energy because a major and consequential assessment is underway. He told Channel 7 News, “the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Evaluation Anti Money Laundering Peer Review is upcoming later this year and it is imperative that we do all that it takes to be given favorable consideration…it was determined that a change is now warranted, a new direction is needed with new energetic leadership in place. Leni Ysaguirre McGann, Deputy Director of FIU, will now serve as Acting Director of the FIU.”
Ysaguirre McGann, an attorney, has been with the FIU for almost 10 years and has a range of experience. She is a trained assessor by the CFATF for the fourth round of the mutual evaluation process and sits as a co-chair on the CFATF International Cooperation Review Group.
The FIU is also leading an investigation into a recent phishing scam that has seen money mysteriously siphoned away from private bank accounts through online portals. Clare’s team made significant progress on that investigation and some funds were even recovered from fraudsters. Still, it is not clear where that investigation will go in the near future under Ysaguirre McGann.
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