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Jan 15, 2016

G.O.B. Takes Multi-million Dollar Hit in Supreme Court

The Government of Belize was dealt a massive blow in the Supreme Court this morning, where Justice Courtney Abel ruled that the raid on the offices of Titan International Securities in September 2014 was unlawful.  Acting on behalf of U.S. authorities, local law enforcement officers ascended to the sixth floor of the Matalon Building where they proceeded to remove scores of boxes containing files and other sensitive documents from Titan’s office.  This followed an indictment in which several persons, including Bahamians Rohn Knowles and Kelvin Leach were named in a five hundred million U.S. dollar tax fraud scheme.  While personnel from the Belize Police Department executed the raid in the presence of officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit, they seemingly took more than what was required for the case against the overseas company.  A number of boxes that were confiscated were unrelated to the case and this morning, Justice Courtney Abel agreed with the claimants that the entire operation was against the law.  That blunder will cost government millions of dollars in damages.  Following today’s ruling, News Five spoke with Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay who explained how government’s defense fell apart in court.

 

Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney, Titan International Securities

“You will recall, I think it was in September 2014 that the Government of Belize, specifically the Attorney General along with the Financial Intelligence Unit had gone into the premises of Titan on Coney Drive. They executed a search at the request of the United States Government. That search effectively closed down Titan; they took all their documents, all their computers, all their information…everything, all their files. We challenged that on behalf of Titans. Essentially, the argument was that there was a request from the U.S. Government in relation to proceedings that had commenced in the United States. But in taking all the documents and all the information; that included information in relation to people who are not Americans—Canadian, Chinese, wherever you are from…all your information—was taken. Our argument was that the breadth of the search warrant as well as the manner in executing the search was unconstitutional; it was too wide, it was trying to find evidence to show that our clients perhaps had done something wrong. This morning the judge handed down his decision and in his decision, he found that the manner in which the search was conducted and in particular being assisted by the Financial Intelligence Unit was contrary and in contravention of the rights of Titan. He found the search execution to be unconstitutional and awarded damages. Importantly, he also ordered the defendants to provide a list of all that was taken and just as importantly to give us either an undertaking or the court will order an injunction to say anything that is not related to what is the U.S. case must be restrained. There can be no use of it, no dissemination of it because it relates to other people who are unrelated to the case in the United States.”

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1 Response for “G.O.B. Takes Multi-million Dollar Hit in Supreme Court”

  1. Hatari says:

    And once again, the PD & FIU have shown their incompetence and will cost the rest of us millions of dollars in damages and legal fees to clean up their mess! The Belize Police Dept. just can’t seem to get anything right. Why? Because of a total lack of administration and supervision. They are without a doubt damn near worthless and a waste of taxpayer money.

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