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Mar 2, 2016

Government Must Return $2.8 Million to Coye Family

A long and traumatic journey which began on New Year’s Eve 2008 and included a conviction for money laundering, jail time, countless trips to Court and even a death is finally over. In 2014 the Coye family was vindicated after the Court of Appeal found that they were not money launderers. But since then the battle has been to get back more than three million dollars which were seized by the Financial Intelligence Unit. That battle, and hopefully the war, is ended. Today Justice Abel ruled that the Government of Belize must return to businesswoman Melonie Coye and her family two point eight million dollars which was unlawfully seized by the Commissioner of Income Tax. News Five spoke to Coye’s attorney Eamon Courtenay as they exited the Courtroom of Justice Abel this afternoon.


Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Melonie Coye

Eamon Courtenay

“When the Coyes were acquitted in the Court of Appeal the Court ordered that the money that was being held for them should be returned. The FIU had about $3.2M dollars for them and immediately upon the Court of Appeal saying that should happen, the Commissioner of Income Tax made an assessment and assessed the Coyes for the exact amount and demanded that the FIU pay it over to them and the FIU paid it over to them. We were asked by the Coyes to challenge that decision and we challenged that decision before Justice Abel as being an unlawful decision by the Commissioner because there is no basis for him to have decided that these people owed $3.2M in taxes. We commenced a claim and we are happy that the Judge agreed with us and in fact declared that the decision by the Commissioner to assess them for $3.2M dollars was unlawful and arbitrary. As a part of the judgment he ordered the parties to meet to go over what information the Coyes had to try to determine how much tax if any was payable by them. We went through that process and after as best analysis as we could do on the pieces of paper left from the FIU we came up with $699,000, so that was to be deducted from the $3.2M and of course there is interest of $300,000 that has accrued since then so they will get back approximately $2.8M.”



“In terms of a timeline, because we have just seen a case yesterday where the Court ruled that Government should pay ACES, it’s been years and they haven’t gotten that money. What can you do to enforce the decision by the Judge?”


Eamon Courtenay

“Well what our intention is to immediately engage the Financial Secretary and the Commissioner to set up a timeline. My intention is to have a written agreement that they will agree to how they will pay which of course they do not fulfill it we will come back to Court. We don’t expect that we will have to come back to Court but we do appreciate that government does not have $2.8M to give us immediately. We’re in the budget process at the moment so the government is aware of this debt. It is important and we will communicate to the Financial Secretary that at least some provision has to be made in this budget cycle for a substantial payment to the client and then the balance over a period of time.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “Government Must Return $2.8 Million to Coye Family”

  1. Jason says:

    Another FIU fuck up. When they going to learn and stop being just snitches and bitches for the US? and I will never forget that soon she will get whats coming to her for using my name in her scheme even if she was found not guilty-you are guilty to me Coye and you will pay.

  2. Hatari says:

    GOB screws up again! And who pays, WE DO! If the Coye’s aren’t money launderers, then why was all that cash money under their bed?

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