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Nov 6, 2013

Days after he was released on bail, businessman Michael Coye dies

Michael Coye

And now, we turn to the sad story of a Belize City businessman who has been in the news now for years.  Sixty-seven year old Michael Coye spent eighteen months behind bars for money-laundering while his case was under appeal. It’s a rarity, but last Thursday, his attorney was able to secure bail for him before the Court of Appeal based on transcripts of his trial at the Supreme Court. It was bitter sweet moment for Coye since his daughter Melonie stayed behind bars. Coye had been ailing for some time due to his diabetic condition. On Tuesday night while at home, his condition went downhill and he suffered a heart attack. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Less than a week after being released from prison, sixty-seven-year-old Michael Coye is dead.  The ailing businessman was granted bail by the Court of Appeal last Thursday, following several attempts by attorney Arthur Saldivar to have him freed.


Arthur Saldivar, Attorney for Michael Coye

Arthur Saldivar

“Mr. Coye, from all indications, had some complications with his respiratory system at about nine-thirty, minutes to ten and as a result of that his family called the BERT ambulance to come over and they administered oxygen to him and transported him to the KHMH.  I believe he may have passed a little bit after ten, suffering a massive heart attack.”


Coye, along with his daughter Melonie, had been sentenced to three years behind bars after being found guilty of money laundering in August 2012.  The conviction succeeded a protracted legal battle which began three years earlier, when the principals of Money Exchange International were jointly charged with siphoning one point five million dollars.


Arthur Saldivar

“This morning I went over to the Kolbe facility to visit with his daughter Ms. Melonie to inform her of the passing of her father.  Well, we are here now awaiting word from the court to see whether or not we’ll be able to have a hearing of the bail application for Melonie at this time.”


Isani Cayetano

“Now, Mr. Michael Coye was just granted bail on appeal on Friday, am I correct?  Can you bring us up to par with what took place during that session?”


Arthur Saldivar
“Well what happened was that the Court of Appeal for the first time had the opportunity to see the transcript of the trial that took place before his lordship Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin and from what they saw and from the arguments made they held that the likelihood of success on appeal was great.”


The hearing of the case before the superior court is the continuation of a collective effort to exonerate the Coye family.  On August 8th, 2012, their employees, Athlee Matute and Dietrick Kingston, were both freed on bail after being found guilty of similar charges.


Athlee Matute, Released on Bail [File: August 8th, 2012]

Athlee Matute

“Even though the time wasn’t such a long time I really would have hoped for the better and wished that all four of us could have gotten the same sentence, I mean, because we still all maintain our innocence in this entire ordeal.”


Like his clients, attorney Arthur Saldivar maintains that they are innocent of the charges brought against them.  Meanwhile, Coye, a diabetic, languished in prison.  His health deteriorating considerably.


Arthur Saldivar

“It has been my position and I maintain the position that Michael Coye committed no crime, Melonie Coye committed no crime, Dietrick Kingston nor Athlee Matute committed any crime and the transcript of the case bears that out.”


Isani Cayetano

“Does his passing affect what the Court of Appeal will decide upon?”


Arthur Saldivar

“No.  It’s just a great tragedy that he had to pass before his name was cleared.  It is no consolation that posthumously that will be done, especially when one considers that he spent one year, eight months incarcerated and there is now the fervent knowledge that that one year, eight months was not warranted.  A day in jail, a day without your liberty is an eternity, imagine one year, eight months.  His spirit was broken and it’s as a result of that broken spirit that his body succumbed.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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6 Responses for “Days after he was released on bail, businessman Michael Coye dies”

  1. M says:

    Who gives a rats ass if they win their appeal or are found legally not guilty- like their lawyer says about Penner- they did do something -and were thrown in jail and that’s good enough for me. Don’t use my name again and I hope this irreversible punishment of being in jail for 18 months and death of this next half guilty old man teaches the rest a good lesson they will never forget

  2. MIZZ BARROW says:

    Dead? Hmmm…….. sounds more like suicide, which would have been a very god thing. This man destroyed lives, brought innocent people under police investigation, and forced many to spend big bucks to clean up their reputation which he had destroyed. Michael Coye was a low life geezer.

    It would not be surprising to see his cohort daughter released from prison too. As Belizeans we need to show clemency in time of suffering. What a goddam joke.

    So are we going to show clemency to mi bredda when Castro and Penner start talking?

  3. galaxy says:

    FIU! Congrats! It’s blood you wanted…now you have the death of a man on your books. FIU = America’s Puppets…

  4. belizean says:

    He died because his time had come, not because he was stressed out or because he couldn’t get the proper treatment at the Belize Central Prison. More over; he was a crook, “if u can’t spend the time, don’t comet the Crime” simple. keep up d good work FIU, two more to go and like dickie said, “No need to call names”

  5. Carlos says:

    Despite what the man did or did not, in our lives we all make mistakes and it’s just because we’re not caught. People have some solace on this gentle man’s family, if night would turn to day you know all what would be revealed? Judge yourselves first before you cast the first stone. My heart goes out to the family even though I don’t know them.

  6. bzedude says:

    We are a democratic nation but as Belizeans we should many times be more educated in the way we voice our opinions. This devastated family has been and is still going through an ordeal that has impacted their lives dramatically. They have both served 18 months in prison whether innocent or not and now he is dead. Is the FIU happy for the fame they got with results of the case? I don’t know, but I can say that the politics in our country is dirty. They have treated the Coye family and others convicted in the case very dirty from the get go, harassment, abuse, violations and many more that was not shed to light because of fear at the time.
    Until today they maintain their innocence even though accused otherwise. What if in reality they are innocent? Lets not judge them. We are all human beings, we are Belizeans and we all have our our bad days in one way or another. Today it may be them but remember that tomorrow it can be anyone of us. My condolence to the Coye family. God bless our country and our people. Peace…

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