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Jun 18, 2008

… While Magistrate schedules money laundering trial for July

Story PictureWhile Pleming was upstairs arguing that matter in the Supreme Court, Eamon Courtenay was representing the Belize Bank downstairs in the Magistrate’s Court. The Bank has been charged with seventy-nine counts of money laundering in connection to a series of deposits made by Belize Telecommunications Limited between 2004 and 2005. The Bank has pled not guilty to all counts and Magistrate Sharon Frazer has adjourned the matter until
July eighth. But according to Courtenay, even though the case is set to go to trial in less than a month, he’s still not sure what his clients have been accused of.

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney, Belize Bank
“We are confident that the F.I.U. does not have information or evidence that can be admitted in court that will establish that Belize Telecommunications Limited, the biggest telephone company in this country was involved in Money Laundering. It’s a ridiculous proposition.”

Janelle Chanona
“I notice you used some word there “that cannot be presented in court”. Is there evidence that does exist that the court will not get the opportunity to hear?”

Eamon Courtenay
“We don’t know. We don’t know what the F.I.U. has and I can only assume that their failure to hand over the evidence after repeated requests means that they have a difficulty with whatever they have. Either it’s something they have that is not admissible, or what they have, they know in the totality it’s not enough to amount to supporting the charges that they have leveled. We have made it very clear to the F.I.U. that if they do not have evidence to support what they are alleging, the bank is going to consider its position and is going to move—I don’t want to sound threatening but we have tried so hard to find out what it is that they believe is a miss, that if they have nothing there’s a consequence.”

According to Courtenay, during the period in question Belize Telecommunications Limited was controlled by three different parties, the Government of Belize, Jeffrey Prosser and Michael Ashcroft.

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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