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Nov 12, 2018

Central Bank of Belize Looking Into the Scam

Esteven Perera

The U.S. indictment named several persons and companies as it relates to a civil complaint lodged against Sanctuary Belize, Andris Pukke and other associates including Atlantic International Bank Limited.  It’s a very serious matter for the bank which is not only one of the largest banks in Belize, but one of the few that still enjoys corresponding banking with the U.S.  With the current indictment, there is the fear that corresponding banking may be pulled, affecting Belize’s banking sector. According to attorney Estevan Perera, the scammers allowed the clients to make payment directly to the local Belize bank accounts, contrary to Central Bank regulations and Laws of Belize.

 

Esteven Perera, Attorney

“The situation is that Central Bank requires all funds in respect to purchasing of the property be paid into a Belize dollar account here in the country of Belize. Unfortunately, what we have happening that quite a number of these developments have funds being paid over a period of time, like those installments payment they are having these installments payments being made to the US. It becomes a problem when you have a situation where you have a local company selling to a foreign national because that requires permission from Central bank for the transfer to take. However for these types of developments that have been collected monthly payments for the past year, two years those buyers have great difficulty in getting their title because when they go to Central Bank they can’t prove that all funds for the purchase including the installments payments were being paid into a Belize dollar account. This is the case that we have in respect to this matter as well. We are saying that the defendants are not able to transfer the property to us or to our client based on the fact that installments payments were asked to be paid outside of the jurisdiction. We are in the process which is a bit difficult to get Central Bank’s approval to have that purchase take place.”

 

Reporter

“But do you believe that that was planned that way because didn’t it reach the title stage transfer in any of these cases?”

 

Esteven Perera

“Well I can’t speak to the fact of whether or not it was planned. It is just unfortunate that that is the specific circumstance that a lot of these buyers are finding themselves in, that they paid these monthly installments in US dollars to a foreign account.”

 

The Central Bank of Belize is aware of the scam and according to Central Bank Governor, Joy Grant; the matter is being looked into. The case resumes on November twenty-sixth.

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