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Dec 18, 2017

Developer’s past questioned; IAA stands by Jorge Jaen

Is the government in bed with a conman in the case of the multi-million dollar Basil Jones airstrip development project? The project is being spearheaded by the International Airport Alliance Belize Limited who proposes a state-of-the art facility for private charters and select flights to the island. However, questions have been raised about Jorge Abraham Jaen, principal of IAA Belize, and his past background. According to the New York Times, at one time as he told investigators in 2013, he was an employee of Anthony Bosch, owner of the Biogenesis clinic in Miami who was jailed for four years, later reduced, for illegal injection of steroids to Major League Baseball players and high school players although he says he cut ties fairly quickly. Jaen himself was arrested in Miami, Florida, in 2006 on charges of fraud, and has previously been convicted of similar charges including conspiracy to commit extortion and a 1999 conviction for voter fraud. Specifically, investigators from the office of the Inspector General of Miami-Dade County investigated a scheme to steal surplus foreclosure funds through fraudulent filings and misrepresentations to the courts. The report says Jaen made several false representations in order to obtain a car loan, including providing false representation to a lender. But a statement issued through his local attorneys says it’s all water under the bridge. Calling the memorandum “outdated” by at least ten years, the statement claims that IAA elected to allow Jaen to join despite his issues, and that the allegations were unfounded and Jaen was never prosecuted. He has a license from the state of Florida to transact in real estate and development. The statement also claims that he was recently recognized and honored by the city of Miami for outstanding performance in obtaining affordable housing for lower-income residents. Interestingly, we could not find a copy of that commendation on the website of the City of Miami when we checked today. Nonetheless, IAA Belize says it remains committed to the airport project and intends to complete it in a way that Belize will be proud of. We note that both Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia and Economic Development Minister Erwin Contreras who signed on to the airport project, gave their backing to the failed Puerto Azul project, which saw millions of dollars scammed from investors and led to arrests and convictions earlier this year for the chief developer and his colleague. It remains to be seen whether this planned mega billion initiative could run into similar issues.

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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1 Response for “Developer’s past questioned; IAA stands by Jorge Jaen”

  1. carlos says:

    These two ministers re corrupt to the bone. Why they make deals with corrupt people? Do they want their piece too ?

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