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Oct 14, 2022

C.I.B.L. Goes to Court Over $3.1M Discovered at Mine Beer Brewery

Earlier this week, we told you about the multi-agency operation at Caribbean International Brewery Limited that yielded three point one million dollars in cash. The raid on the premises just outside of Carmelita Village also led to the detention of several Asian nationals for alleged immigration offenses. Since then, the Financial Investigation Unit  has filed an application under the Money Laundering and Terrorism Prevention Act, before the Orange Walk Magistrates Court, to have the seized funds detained for an additional three months, while they seek to determine the origin of the money. According to that piece of legislation, money seized by a police or customs officer cannot be held for a period longer than seventy-two hours, unless ordered by a magistrate for a period that does not exceed three months. The application hearing began today before Magistrate Deborah Rogers.  C.I.B.L. has retained the services of Senior Counsel Dean Barrow in this matter. The F.I.U. is being represented by Attorney Shanelle Thomas-Smaller.  In her opening statement, Attorney Thomas-Smaller argued that there are grounds to suspect that the three point one million dollars seized on the compound were being kept for the purposes of human trafficking, tax evasion, and money laundering. We spoke with former Prime Minister Dean Barrow, attorney for C.I.B.L., on adjournment. Here is how he responded to that assertion.


Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow, Attorney-at-law

“They have brought charges against various individuals for working without a valid working permit, immigration matters for which the fines are something like a thousand dollars. It is just that the application for the detention of the money was based on that. It is just that today now we hear there is all of a sudden this allegation that the money’s may have been tainted by money laundering activities, or may have been infected by tax evasions. That is completely new and I, my own position is that it is new because it is an afterthought designed merely to support the application to hold on to the money. Without those new belated allegations, I don’t think they would have had much of a case. How would you connect three million plus dollars with offenses that attract, offenses for which the fines are in the region of a thousand dollars? But now, they have introduced these new elements, I insist by way of a bid to shore up the case that was first alleged, which in my view didn’t amount to very much.”

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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