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Airport Inquiry: Ferguson's assets frozen

Piarco Airport Inquiry
Ferguson's assets frozen


The State has been successful in freezing the bank account of yet another accused in the Piarco Airport Project - this time former Maritime boss, Steve Ferguson. The move follows the discovery by the State that Ferguson transferred funds from the relatively easy location of the Bahamas to a distant, little-known, tiny principality in Central Europe, Liechtenstein. The funds are being frozen to prevent any further transfer. Attorney General John Jeremie said, "Just after the charges were filed in March 2002, those funds valued at just under US $1.3 million were transferred at Mr Ferguson's direction to a new bank account in Liechtenstein, also alleged to be controlled by Mr Ferguson and possibly others." Jeremie stated that at his direction, legal counsel obtained an order from the Liechtenstein court system, freezing the bank account and its contents.

The Liechtenstein court also granted an order allowing the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to inspect the bank records "to determine if the money is still in the account, or if it has been further transferred." However Liechtenstein is asking for $95,000 for its cooperation.
The AG's release stated that the Liechtenstein court had made the examinaton of the account conditional on the posting of a $95,000 bond. Government has approved the necessary bond funds to allow the inspection of the Liechtenstein bank account and records, as well as continuing the freeze order, Jeremie said. He also signalled Government's intention to keep the funds of all the accused in the Piarco matter within easy reach in the hope of eventually repatriating it. Jeremie said: "I have instructed the legal team to pursue this matter until all the proceeds of the Piarco International Airport project crime are returned to the people of Trinidad and Tobago."

He said it was alleged that some of the money obtained by the fraudulent activities of Ferguson and others in the Piarco Project were diverted to several bank accounts - "owned by shell companies - in the Bahamas and controlled by Ferguson." He stated that Ishwar Galbaransingh and Raul Guttierez, among others, had petitioned the Bahamian court in an effort to prevent Bahamas from providing any information which could assist the State in the prosecution of the case. But the Government is bent on preventing this from happening.

"The Attorney General will take all necessary steps to support the Bahamian government in its attempt to defend this action and to ensure that the documents required under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas are made available to the State to facilitate the prosecution of this matter," the AG said. The State also took action in the Miami courts to have the assets of former minister Brian Kuei Tung frozen, after it obtained information that he planned to sell two Florida properties. Sources said the State has been busy tracing and tracking the funds of the accused in the Piarco case and seeking to hold those funds in jurisdictions where the State would have the capacity to bring them back to Trinidad and Tobago in the event of a successful prosecution.

Trinidad and Tobago News

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