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Jan 18, 2017

Opposition Leader Points Fingers at G.O.B. on Puerto Azul

Turning to the scandalous Puerto Azul scam which continues to unravel…the Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Junior, who along with the Minister of economic Development, were fetted at the Cannes Film Festival when the luxury project was launched is travelling and no one on government would speak on how crooked investors were able to hoodwink government officials. The principal investor, Domenico Giannini, an Italian citizen is behind bars tonight after being arrested by Swiss police. A second individual, Fabio La Rosa, is also named in the scam, but is not under arrest. The tax police in Varese, Switzerland arrested Giannini on Tuesday following a year old investigation of what is described as an international criminal organization with bases in Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Caribbean and London.  Giannini is facing a very long list of charges including aggravated fraud, embezzlement, illegal financial and banking activities, falsification of documents and impersonation. Newspaper reports say the scheme allegedly operated in this manner: wealthy investors were sought and invited to the fancy offices of the Giannini’s company, DGH, and encouraged to diversify their portfolio. Images of the Puerto Azul were shown to them along with images of Belize atolls. After being seduced to buy into the mega million dollar luxury resort, to have been built on Northern Two Cayes and Sandbore Caye, their investments would be transferred to bank accounts in Switzerland, Luxembourg and locally.  Eighteen million Euros, or thirty-eight point seven million Belize dollars, have been withheld from Giannini as well as twenty-six properties, twenty-seven parcels of land, shares in ten companies, six cars and eighteen bank accounts.  This morning, the leader of the Opposition, John Briceño, offered comments on the fiasco.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Now we are hearing now that Puerto Azul where you are hearing the investors came up with a Ponzi scheme and we had two ministers—the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Economic Development—conversing with them at the Cannes film festival and taking pictures. I think Minister Godwin Hulse, who was a part of the cabinet committee, saying that they had vetted all the investments and the qualifications for it to be a first calls investment in Belize. And guess who are the attorneys of Puerto Azul? I’ll give you a dollar if you guess. Barrow and Williams, no other than the Prime Minister’s law firm were the attorneys for this Puerto Azul and now we find out that it is a Ponzi scheme…fifteen of them already are in jail. So we have this whole issue of corruption that the prime minister refuses to address.”

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