BAHAMAS-Investigators to visit United States in visa fraud scam


National Security Minister Marvin Dames says investigators from the Royal Bahamas Police Force as well as an attorney from the Department of Public Prosecutions are to visit the United States later this week to meet with US officials regarding a probe into visa fraud linking senior local immigration officials.

Dames told the Tribune newspaper that the local team would meet with members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who will brief them on the FBI’s two-year undercover investigation into allegations of visa fraud at the United States Embassy in Nassau.

 “They will look at what’s there and again they will review the evidence, the information the FBI had compiled that led to the arrest and charges, and determine whether there is anything they can work with and whether any laws would have been broken in the Bahamas. If yes, by whom and to see whether there are any lines they can follow,” dames told the newspaper.

The affidavit of special agent Kevin Gounaud, filed in support of a criminal complaint, details conversations the visa scam’s alleged lead conspirator, Edward Israel Saintil, had with undercover FBI informants concerning his ability to obtain fraudulent Bahamian work permits to shore up US visa applications.

The newspaper said that after it broke the story about the FBI’s operation earlier this month, Dames told reporters government officials have had “initial discussions” with American counterparts on the claims.

Dames said then that the FBI was expected to fully brief Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson on the findings of its two-year undercover investigation.

He said local law enforcement will then make a decision as to whether any Bahamian laws were broken, and take the necessary measures.

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