BY ROBERT ALONZO, www.guardian.co.tt
The Government has filed lawsuits in a Miami court against 14 people and companies, among them two local businessmen linked to the ongoing probe into the Piarco Airport development project.
In the racketeering action filed in Miami Dade County on Tuesday, Government is seeking US$105 million plus damages (approximately TT$2.6 billion) for alleged wrongful acts in Florida.
Apart from the two locals, the writ of claim has named six Florida residents, one of whom is a close relative of one of the local businessmen named in the document, and three companies also based in Florida.
The action has been filed by attorney Edward Davis, on behalf of the Government.
A spokesman at the Attorney General’s Office said yesterday that the action was being taken now to ensure that the statute of limitations did not expire.
The 73-page US court document claims the defendants conspired to operate a criminal scheme, pursuant to which millions of dollars have been siphoned through a massive, complex and international enterprise operating in the US, T&T, The Bahamas, Liechtenstein and elsewhere.
The Government is alleging that State funds passed through various bank accounts in T&T, Florida, The Bahamas and Liechtenstein for the defendants’ benefit, and as bribes and kickbacks to corrupt government officials or designated beneficiaries.
In addition to the US$105 million, Government is seeking treble damages, interest, attorneys’ fees and costs of the action.
The State has also applied to the Miami court for an injunction to prevent the disposal or transfer of assets and other property unlawfully obtained by the defendants, from proceeds of criminal acts.
The State claims it has no adequate remedy if the funds were disposed, secreted or the real property transferred.
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