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Cops to search Miami bank records

By Nalinee Seelal

Officers of the Anti-Corruption Squad led by Supt Maurice Piggott will travel to Miami shortly to examine bank records, as part of phase two of their probe into the $1.6 billion Piarco Airport Development Project.

Newsday learned that the Central Authority in Miami has already contacted officials of the Miami bank, and they are in the process of getting a court order to examine key financial records as part of the ongoing probe. Investigators believe that more than $50 million dollars stolen from government, have been laundered and stashed in the Miami bank.

Sources at the Anti-Corruption Squad said yesterday that they also intend to quiz a former government minister, a Maritime executive and others as part of phase two of the airport probe. More arrests are imminent.

Newsday learned that investigators have already sought directions from Director of Public Prosecutions, Mark Mohammed SC, to have further charges laid against three of the six people already charged with offences arising out of the airport probe.

Newsday learned that the police were able to request the assistance from the Miami bank through the Mutual Legal Assistance provisions in the Criminal Matters Act.

Under that Act, if you have an agreement with a country you can request that country to investigate matters on your behalf to open up bank accounts, or go before a court to get sworn evidence.

That agreement with the United States was signed in 1997 through the efforts of the then Attorney General, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

The agreement was signed by Maharaj and Warren Christopher, the then United States Secretary of State. Following the signing of that agreement, a Central Authority headed by David West was set up in the office of the Attorney General.
That office facilitates any requests with respect to legal assistance.

The office was launched by former Prime Minister Basdeo Panday at the opening of the Cabildo Chambers last year.

During his address Panday said that the office of the Central Authority was important for the investigation of crime.

He praised former AG Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj for his role in having the office set up. Newsday learned that the Central Authority in Trinidad has already contacted the Central Authority in Miami for assistance in the investigations.

Messages In This Thread

Ish, ex-ministers among 6 charged with corruption
Four of the individuals charged
PM Manning said, more arrests coming
Cops to search Miami bank records
It should be politically motivated!
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