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Jun 20, 2008

SolGen: C.J. should hear Venezuelan money case; not London arbitrators

Arguments between the Attorney General and Belize Bank’s lawyers over whether the case of the ten million from Venezuela should be heard by the Chief Justice or decided on by a London arbitration tribunal concluded late this evening. The C.J. has reserved his decision. In court today, Solicitor General Tanya Herwanger outlined the Government’s case, maintaining that lest anyone be confused, all the litigation surrounding the Caracas cash is about the money and the Constitution and not about any contractual agreements that may or may not have been agreed to by the former administration and the Belize Bank. The SolGen’s core argument is money was shackled by the terms of the agreement between Venezuela and Belmopan and that the route of the transfer of funds should have triggered concerns by the Belize Bank. On Thursday, the Bank’s Nigel Pleming maintained that as per the Settlement Deed signed in March 2007, all these issues should be settled in arbitration. But today Herwanger told the court that the March deal was cancelled out by the verbal agreement made in January 2008. And because no clause was included in that understanding to have any disputes settled by arbitration, the Chief Justice can make a determination in the matter.

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