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Sep 26, 2019

What is Reynaldo Verde’s Employment Status?

Reynaldo Verde

Senior Tax Administrator, Reynaldo Verde stands accused of attempted extortion and is in a federal holding facility in the United States. Verde’s employment status at this juncture is being considered by the Public Services Commission, in accordance with the rules and regulations.  The F.B.I. accuses Verde of attempting to extort Chris Williams, C.E.O. of Legacy Global Development, who began the development of Orchid Bay in Corozal.  Verde allegedly proposed to use his position as Deputy Director of the Belize Tax Services Department to whip clean William’s tax debts in exchange for three hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cash. Unbeknownst to Verde, calls were recorded and the F.B.I. was involved.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The fate of Reynaldo Verde remains in limbo tonight. Belize’s Deputy Director of the newly amalgamated Belize Tax Services Department remains in detention in the U.S.A., following charges of interference with commerce by means of extortion and attempted extortion. The F.B.I. has at least three audio recordings between Verde and C.E.O. of Legacy Global Development,  Chris Williams, who began constructing Orchid Bay Resort in Corozal. The allegation is that Verde used his high government position to threaten and demand hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribe from Williams for his tax woes to disappear. The first contact was made in 2017 via a middle man who reportedly informed Williams that Verde wanted to speak with him. The first meeting occurred on January nineteenth, 2017 when Verde told Williams that the tax debt amounted to one million Belize dollars. The meeting was secretly recorded and so were two others, including a sting operation which occurred at Orchid Bay on August 2019. Prior to that meeting, Williams attempted to convince Verde to meet in Mexico, Panama or the U.S., but Verde refused. During the August meeting, Verde reportedly made several offers and demands. Verde allegedly demanded that Williams pay three hundred thousand dollars. Verde wanted the amount in cash, and not via wire transfer. Williams and Verde then discussed Williams giving him property instead. Verde who was reportedly armed during the meeting left with one thousand US dollars from Williams. Earlier this month, prior to the details of the allegations being released, Prime Minister Dean Barrow was asked for comment.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow [File: September 19th, 2019]

What I can say is this; the United States authorities have not acted in a way that the Government of Belize finds satisfactory.  Indeed they have acted in a way that should form the basis of some kind of complaint on our behalf, nothing to do with detaining this man, nothing to do with charging this man.  It has to do with the fact that the rules of committee, the rules of the relations between states recognize and accept that each country is entitled to seek to protect its nationals.  Mr. Verde is innocent until proven guilty.  So I, for my purposes, I am not going to get into the merits or otherwise of the charges against him, but I do complain bitterly about the fact that he was not, or the Government of Belize, and therefore Mr. Verde, we both were disrespected by this failure, this refusal on the part of the U.S. authorities to allow our consular personnel to have access to Verde until way down in the week after he was detained on the weekend.”

 

A government press release on September twelfth stated, “Verde’s employment status with the Government of Belize will be put before the Public Services Commission in accordance with the rules and regulations for the Public Services for consideration and decision.” Verde’s attorney denies the allegations. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.


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