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Jan 12, 2016

Belizean Businessman Freed After 6 Days in Detention

After spending six days in detention at a jail in Roatan, Honduras, Belizean businessman August Tabony is back home. The sixty-five year old businessman was detained at the Juan Manuel Gálvez Roatan International Airport on January fifth after he failed to declare more than sixteen thousand four hundred and ninety U.S. dollars in cash. This morning, the Cayo businessman returned to Belize after the charges against him were withdrawn by the Honduran justice system.

 

August Tabony, Vindicated of Money Laundering

“It’s great to be back in Belize; you don’t know how happy I am to have landed here and be back in the country of Belize. The situation in Roatan was a disaster for me. I made a mistake; it could have been cleaned up in about thirty minutes, but the fiscalia, the prosecutor, tried to make a much bigger thing about it and under the laws that they charged me I had to prove that my money was not from drug trafficking or something like that. We had no problem proving it, but then it took six days to have the hearing and as soon as we had the hearing, the judge released us. We were able to show them that all of our companies were up to date with the tax authorities, all our taxes were paid and we were one of the few companies that never had any problem with the tax authorities over there. I need to thank Chris Coye, [my attorney] he handled getting us the paper to prove that here in Belize, all of our companies were paid up with the tax authorities here too. So there was no question that our money was not from illicit purposes.”

 

Reporter

“Sir everything could have been avoided if you had just declared the monies. Why did you sir?”

 

August Tabony

August Tabony

“First of all, there was no place to declare in the airport in Roatan. I could have…yes, I made a mistake. There is an administrative thing in the law that says if you fail to file, you can pay a fine. But when they charge you with the charge of money laundering, then the burden of proof becomes on the person having the money. And it wasn’t only because it was in the airport; if you are anywhere in Honduras with over ten thousand U.S. dollars, you can be charged with money laundering and you have to proof that the money is from legal sources. And the fiscalia, or the district attorney or the prosecutor’s office could have looked at our paper work. The first day, we spent all day showing her licenses from our businesses, our tax reports, everything and then at five o’clock in the afternoon, she said no, we want to take this to a hearing. There’s another thing that people should know. In Roatan, in Honduras, you cannot deposit in some banks twenty dollar bills. They have rules because they thing that is the bill of the drug trafficker and so some banks would not accept any and some banks will only accept like five hundred a day. And over the Christmas holidays, we took in over four thousand dollars in twenties that we couldn’t deposit there so I was also ringing that back to deposit here and would have declared it here.”

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1 Response for “Belizean Businessman Freed After 6 Days in Detention”

  1. Marie says:

    Haha, people don’t realize all the freedom they have in Belize, and these fools out there disgracing the country by killing each other and innocent ones in the name of gangs.

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