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Feb 12, 2020

Attorney General Peyrefitte Discusses MLAT and Saldivar Investigation

Michael Peyrefitte

In carrying out a complete and thorough investigation, the question of invoking the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty was put to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte.  He explains the mechanism behind requesting sensitive court documents in respect of John Saldivar’s involvement with Lev Dermen and Jacob Kingston.  That information, he says, may not necessarily come from the Utah District Court.

 

Michael Peyrefitte, Chairman, United Democratic Party

“I am not sure; Utah is where the trial is happening.  The evidence we may need to gather may not come from Utah, it may come from somewhere else but we have to get somewhere else before we meet that.  We know the treaty is invoked whenever we in Belize have an interest in a crime that may have occurred in Belize, then we would request of the U.S. through the treaty information that would help our investigation here.  We have to do the investigation and once we, during the investigation, we come across anything that we believe the U.S. authorities could help us with then we would request of them information that would bolster our case here.  So the treaty is always there, we operate it every day, we use it every day but there would have to be good reason for us to summon information from the courts and usually when you do that it’s because the situation involves a crime that is both a crime in the requesting state and the requesting state.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“We’re looking at, for instance, money laundering.  If we’re saying it’s fifty thousand U.S. dollars that were given to him in Miami, then how would he have gotten those monies here when you have to declare anything above ten thousand dollars?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Well like I told you, the Honorable John Saldivar has maintained his innocence.  He’s not saying, “I am guilty and so therefore I am resigning.”  He is saying he is resigning because he believes that all the attention and the distraction is having the party go through some hemorrhaging.  He maintains and has maintained for that matter.”

 

The statement from the Attorney General was made after the Chamber of Commerce and Industry wrote to him and the Prime Minister calling on them to initiate an investigation into the allegations of bribery of public officials by Lev Dermen and Jacob Kingston under the MLAT.  The B.C.C.I. said that “there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to justify the government’s investigation into the very grave allegations that affect the integrity and perception of Belize and that the MLAT empowers Belize to request information regarding a criminal investigation, the pre-requisite being that there must be a local investigation.” The Chamber also calls on G.O.B. to request any and all documents and information, including deposed testimonies of Dermen and Kingston in respect of their business interests and dealings in Belize.


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