Turks and Caicos Government Recovers $12 Million From Sandals
The Turks and Caicos Islands government has reached an agreement with the Sandals Group and its directors and officers in relation to ongoing investigations by the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) that involves a payment by Sandals of US$12 million to the government.
The agreement is said to be without any admission of liability by the company, its directors and/or officers. It does not, however, prevent the prosecution of any other persons in respect of any facts and matters.
According to a TCI government news release on Wednesday, the agreement, including the payment of US$12 million, is due in part to the co-operation of Sandals with the United States authorities to a degree that has been acknowledged to be both extraordinary and unique and included the early and voluntary release of valuable evidence that has been shared with the SIPT. That information has materially assisted SIPT’s investigations.
Although not thus far specifically connected to the involvement of US authorities in the Sandals agreement, in November 2011, The Tribune newspaper in The Bahamas revealed the existence of an investigation conducted by US government officials into the wire transfer of funds totaling some $1.65 million from accounts belonging to Sandals/Beaches resorts into the hands of the Progressive National Party (PNP) and former TCI premier Michael Misick, using his brothers’ firms.
According to the article by Neil Hartnell, the funds after arriving in the TCI were divided between the law firms of Misick and Stanbrook, headed by Ariel Misick; Chalmers and Company, headed by Chalmers “Chal” Misick; and Prestigious Properties headed by Washington Misick.
One million dollars of the funds from Sandals was reportedly used to pay debts and obligations of Michael Misick himself.
In the case of Prestigious Properties, an examination of the firm’s files reportedly revealed handwritten notes redirecting the funds to the personal accounts of Michael Misick, now under arrest in Brazil pending extradition to the TCI to answer questions concerning alleged malfeasance while in office.
Washington Misick, a former TCI chief minister for the PNP in the early 1990s, is currently the territory’s minister of finance. He also headed the TCI Bank as chairman of the board of directors. TCI Bank has been in liquidation since April 2010 when it failed, taking down with it 4,000 personal accounts of islanders and $22.9 million in islanders’ pension funds.
Source: Caribbean News Nowcourts, Sandals, Turks & Caicos