Antigua and Barbuda PM responds to malfeasance claim

| December 23, 2016

Antigua and Barbuda Government moves swiftly on allegations arising from New York Court

The government of Antigua and Barbuda is acting immediately on a report in yesterday’s New York Times in which it is suggested that unnamed persons, claiming to be linked to the government, were involved in corrupt activities related to the Brazilian multinational, Odebrecht S. A. and the energy company, Petrobras.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne said, “I am treating the New York Times report quite seriously, particularly as it is quoting from an official document of the US District Court in the Eastern New York District in a case between the US government and Odebrecht”.

“I have instructed our Ambassador in Washington, DC, Sir Ronald Sanders, to retain legal services immediately in order to secure the cooperation of the US District Court with regard to identifying the unnamed persons who claimed to be linked to the government”.

The Prime Minister revealed that his government was not aware of the court case or the allegations made by a witness in the case until his office was contacted by a senior Editor with the Trinidad Guardian yesterday.  “My government is resolved to get to the bottom of this story since it alleges involvement by persons claiming to be intermediaries for, or officials of, the government.  If these allegations are substantiated, I will act immediately and appropriately against any such persons”, the Prime Minister said.

Photo courtesy http://www.reuters.com

Photo courtesy http://www.reuters.com

The Court document states:

“…  in or about mid-2015, Odebrecht Employee 4 attended a meeting in Miami, Florida, with a consular official from Antigua and an intermediary to a high-level government official in Antigua in order to conceal Odebrecht’s corrupt activities.  Odebrecht Employee 4 requested that the high-level official refrain from providing to international authorities various banking documents that would reveal illicit payments made by the Division of Structured Operations on behalf of Odebrecht, and agreed to pay $4 million to the high-level official to refrain from sending the documents. Odebrecht Employee 3 made three payments of 1 million Euros on behalf of Odebrecht in order to secure the deal. The contemplated fourth payment was never made”.

However, Prime Minister Browne pointed out that, far from refraining from providing documents to international authorities, the Antigua and Barbuda government was proactive in its cooperation with the Brazilian and other governments.   He pointed out that in July 2016, the government publicly advised that “the Office of National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) and the Financial Services Regulatory Commission (FSRC) have frozen the accounts of a Brazilian-owned offshore bank that has been in operation since 2006”.   Further, on that same day, Ambassador Sanders in Washington DC, advised the US State Department of the steps that were being taken in Antigua.

Recounting events since then, the Prime Minister disclosed that the ONDCP has responded to requests from the Brazilian authorities to provide records of the Brazilian-owned offshore bank involving approximately 60 accounts.  ONDCP’s assistance to the Brazilian authorities is continuing. Prime Minister Browne made it clear that his government is determined to clarify the identities of the unnamed persons claiming to act as “intermediaries” for a “high level official”, and to take swift and appropriate action to safeguard the standing of Antigua and Barbuda in the international community.

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Category: African Caribbean, Antigua News

About the Author (Author Profile)

Sir Ronald Sanders is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States and the OAS. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The views expressed are his own

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