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Carlos John $52 million bank account


Documents reaching Sunday Newsday have revealed that monies totalling $52 million were credited to the local chequeing account of Carlos John, United National Congress MP for St Joseph, in the 20-month period between June 1999 and December 2000. John became a UNC Minister in May 2000.

But on Friday John denied the report, describing it as far-fetched and stupid. "That is just old talk," he said. " There is no truth at all in it.

What are they trying to say? That Carlos John got money from road paving? I have never handled that kind of money, neither in or out of office."

He added that he did not know whether the deposits referred to an investment company he owned with Lawrence Duprey, head of CL Financial.

Bank documents show otherwise. The chequeing account at the local bank is a personal account in the name of his wife Glenda and himself. It shows large amounts being deposited or transferred via credit memos into the account and equally huge sums being withdrawn during the 20 months.

For example there are deposits of: $1.4 million on July 20, 1999;

$8 million on August 30, 1999; $1 million on May 25, 2000; $1.3 million on November 14; 2000; $2.5 million on November 22, 2000; $1.25 million on December 11, 2000.

These and other deposits came up to $52 million in the 20-month period.

There are also debits of amounts such as $590,000 on June 4, 1999; $6 million on August 30, 1999, $4.4 million in December 1999, $1.3 million on November 14, 2000.

The account, which at the beginning of June 1999 was $607,000 in overdraft, received its first big deposit on June 4, 1999 of $590,000. However, in that same month John withdrew $875,000, leaving him with an overdraft of $891,000 by the end of July 1999.

By July 20, 1999, a deposit of $1.45 million put John's account in the black again, except by the end of July he had withdrawn $1.5 million. Several deposits in August, totalling $9,130,000 saw John back in the bank's good books again. In the ensuing months John's account would be credited with the amounts of $3,000,000, $3,000,000 and $14 million, for a total deposit of $31 million in 1999.

In 2000, John deposited $21million into the same account, but ended with an overall overdraft of $4,000,000 at the end of the year.

Other documents reaching Sunday Newsday show that John is the owner or co-owner of four investment companies, which themselves have five subsidiaries.

Two of John's investment companies, Canmar Investment Strategists and Transactions International Limited were listed as having their original addresses at his former Blue Range home.

After John sold his Blue Range property, the address to which Canmar's business mail was sent was c/o CL Financial Ltd on St Vincent Street.

The directors of Canmar and Transactions International are John's wife, Glenda, a housewife, and his children Mario and Candice, both students.

Both Canmar and Transactions International show several large sums deposited into their accounts at another local bank and immediately transferred to John's personal account in that same bank.

And while Canmar only had $1million of mortgage loans in 1999 at monthly instalments of $16,000; by December 2000, Canmar had borrowed $5 million from several local banks, one of which was CL Financial, to buy land in upscale Moka, a million-dollar La Fontaine condominium in Westmoorings and two apartments at Victoria Villas, Diego Martin.

Canmar also borrowed millions interest free from its drector's, Carlos John's account to purchase land in Lowlands Tobago valued at $2 million, shares in Angostura Holdings Limited and for the mortgage of John's Moka home. Canmar's payments on all its mortgages amounted to $52,000 a month in 2000. John also bought shares in Royal Castle and land at The Mews, Cascade, and in Glencoe. He also purchased a Mercedes Benz.

Canmar's current assets increased from $11 million in 1999 to $21 million in 2000 and its director's current account increased by $7 million over the same period.

John told the now defunct Independent in October 2000 that there was nothing unusual in his meteoric rise in fortune. John described rumours that his apparent new wealth had been aided by his closeness to government as total rubbish.

" I certainly didn't get any of this since I have been in office," he added.

He said his money was an amalgam of assets acquired through years of hard work, added to the benefits of prudent business decisions.

His Moka residence, he said, had been under construction before he ever considered working with the government.

Documents show that the mortgage for the house was only secured in 2000. His other assets, he explained, were the results of his dedication to his job at CL Financial, where as executive assistant to C L Financial's boss Lawrence Duprey, his monthly take home salary was in excess of $80,000.

Following his appointment to the CL Financial Board in April 2000, John's annual salary was set at $1 million.

He said that his wife and he bought properties, and rented them, both commercial and residential and he was in business with Lawrence Duprey.

However, records show that neither Canmar nor Transactions International accounts register much money received from investments and at any rate, the company also had to pay out $52,000 a month in bank loans and mortgages.

And though John boasted about his financial skills and hard work, in 1993 he was unable to pay Taurus Services Ltd, $1.2 million for a loan (including its accrued interest), which Taurus had taken over for John in 1991.

The original debt, which Taurus assumed, was a 1983 Workers Bank loan. In 1994 Taurus, through its attorneys, Stephanie Daly of Pollonais and Blanc filed a writ of summons against John for failing to meet the terms of the loan.

Two months after John joined the Panday Government, State-owned First Citizens Bank called in a $14 million unsecured loan undertaken by John in December 1999. At that time, John was chairman of Tidco, where FCB's chairman Vishnu Ramlogan was CEO. In July 2000, FCB called on the then junior minister to settle the loan in full or provide adequate collateral to cover the money.

Documents addressed to FCB's Board Credit Committee, suggested that John was unable to settle the account in full when the payment demand was made. The loan was initially granted as a short-term facility with a bullet payment to be made on maturity, at the end of May 2000.

John first sought a six-month extension, according to the bank documents. He later arranged for Duprey to take over the loan in the name of Industrial Commercial Development Ltd (ICD), a wholly owned Duprey company.

In the end, Duprey, with a guarantee from CL Financial, took over John's loan.

While a Minister, John continued to receive monies.

Documents show that in July 2001, John, then Minister of Infrastructure Development and Local Government received through Canmar, $400,000 from one of Duprey's companies, Dalco Capital Management Limited.

The $400,000 was transferred to his personal chequeing account. In September 2001, John denied PNM charges that he had more than one source of income.

He also told Sunday Newsday on Friday that he had disclosed all his assets to the integrity Commission and that a firm of accountants had audited all that he owns.

Carlos John's career began with his working at the Bank of Nova Scotia, his last being the Bank's Comptroller and Chief Accountant.

He completed senior executive management courses at the Bank's International Training Campus at the University of Western Ontario, Canada and was also attached to the Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada for two years.

John joined CLICO in 1985 as manager, Mortgages and Investment and in 1992 was appointed Executive Manager, Administration.

In 1996, he was appointed Assistant to the Executive Chairman of CL Financial Ltd. In 1997 John was appointed Chairman of the Tourism and Industrial Development Company, and he chaired the 1999 Miss Universe Pageant committee.

In 1999, John was appointed Deputy Chairman of National Tourism Steering Committee, joined the Board of Directors of BWIA and was elevated to the Board of Directors of CL Financial Ltd, CLICO and Rubber and Chemicals Co Ltd.

He became a Senator and junior minister in the UNC Government in May 2000. By October 12, 2000 John was appointed Minister of Local Government and Minister in the Ministry of Works and Transport.

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