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May 6, 2019

PM Barrow Confirms U.D.P. Senator’s Questioning by U.S. Authorities

Aldo Salazar

U.D.P. Senator Aldo Salazar was questioned by U.S. authorities last week. Senator Salazar was part of a delegation which included Senate President Lee Mark Chang when he was pulled aside by authorities in Houston, Texas.  They were returning from a visit to Taiwan.  Salazar, who is the attorney for Atlantic International Bank, was questioned about the 2018 Sanctuary Bay real estate scam.  The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has accused the bank of facilitating scammer Andre Pukke and his associates in the multimillion dollar scheme in which investors lost millions of dollars even as Pukke sat in a U.S. jail.  Atlantic International Bank is in the process of being liquidated and today, a truck was on the compound removing items from inside the building. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, there are talks between the government and FTC officials of a settlement.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I don’t know if he was detained. I gather that he was questioned about Atlantic International Bank but the bank is now in liquidation. The Central Bank has appointed a liquidator, Mr. Murillo. I don’t mind telling you that I had a meeting with the U.S. Chargé d’affaires on Tuesday and the FTC people called into that meeting. We were having the meeting and wanting to participate and so we are talking a settlement. We are talking a settlement. So I am hopeful that we can get a settlement. The question is how to reconcile the FTC’s interest, as they put it, victim compensation and our interests which also has to be in their interest as well, in making sure of depositors eighty add percent of whom are Americans don’t get left with nothing. So it is going to be a hell of an exercise trying to split the baby in terms of distribution of assets. But the bottom line is, I have made it quite plain that while it is the liquidator who has custody of the bank, the Central Bank has a vested interest. You can call the Central Bank an interested party and the Government of Belize is very keen on seeing this thing sorted because we want whatever cloud the AIBL saga has caused to be lifted from over our jurisdiction. So that is what the talks that are to take place this week between the Central Bank, the liquidator and the FTC hopefully will achieve.”


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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