BELIZE-PM confirms government legislator questioned by US authorities


Prime Minister Dean Barrow has confirmed that a government legislator had been questioned by United States officials regarding the operations of Atlantic International Bank that is now in liquidation.

Senator Aldo Salazar was questioned last week. He was part of a delegation returning from Taiwan, which included Senate President, Lee Mark Chang, when he was pulled aside by authorities in Houston, Texas.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow (File Photo)

Salazar, who is the attorney for Atlantic International Bank, was questioned about the 2018 Sanctuary Bay real estate scam.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has accused the bank of facilitating a multimillion dollar scheme in which investors lost millions of dollars

“I don’t know if he was detained. I gather that he was questioned about Atlantic International Bank but the bank is now in liquidation. The Central Bank has appointed a liquidator,” Prime Minister Barrow told reporters.

He said he held talks with the U.S. Chargé d’affaires last week and the Federal trade Commission (FTC) participated by phone.

“We are talking a settlement. So I am hopeful that we can get a settlement. The question is how to reconcile the FTC’s interest, as they put it, victim compensation and our interests which also has to be in their interest as well, in making sure of depositors eighty add percent of whom are Americans don’t get left with nothing.

“So it is going to be a hell of an exercise trying to split the baby in terms of distribution of assets. But the bottom line is, I have made it quite plain that while it is the liquidator who has custody of the bank, the Central Bank has a vested interest.
“You can call the Central Bank an interested party and the Government of Belize is very keen on seeing this thing sorted because we want whatever cloud the AIBL saga has caused to be lifted from over our jurisdiction. So that is what the talks that are to take place this week between the Central Bank, the liquidator and the FTC hopefully will achieve,” Barrow added.

Last November, a federal court ordered the temporary shutdown of a real estate operation called “Sanctuary Belize,” among other names, the FTC said, adding that it was a scam that has cost investors more than $100 million over more than 10 years.

The FTC had asked the U.S. District Court in Maryland to permanently close the companies. The agency said in its complaint that Andris Pukke, who it called a “serial scammer,” had joined with others to sell lots in a luxury development in the Belize, promising it would soon have amenities like a golf course and casino that have not been completed.

Advertise with the mоѕt vіѕіtеd nеwѕ ѕіtе іn Antigua!
We offer fully customizable and flexible digital marketing packages.
Contact us at [email protected]