Misick to stand trial

The head investigator in a British government probe of corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands says that former Premier Michael Misick will stand trial.

Helen Garlick, the Turks and Caicos Special Investigation and Prosecution Team, said Misick will join 10 others, including four of his cabinet ministers, in defending allegations that they illegally sold government lands for profit and cut other sweetheart deals to enrich themselves during their tenure in office.

The trials could commence as early as September pending further appeals to the British Privy Council, said Garlick in a statement.

She had previously said that the team only wanted Misick to return to the British Overseas Dependent Territory for questioning in a criminal investigation of government corruption.

But Garlick has acknowledged that British investigators, who are receiving help from the U.S. Department of Justice, have combed through about 100,000 pages of evidence, uncovering suspicious land deals, unpaid government bills and possible fraud, bribery and money laundering by former leaders.

Misick is currently in Brazil, where he was arrested last week after the South American country rejected his claim for political asylum. He is now subject to extradition proceedings by the British.

The Turks and Caicos Islands is one of two overseas territories where the British are actively probing corruption. The other is the Cayman Islands, where former Premier McKeeva Bush was formally charged last month with corruption.

Misick was first elected as chief minister in 2003 but resigned in 2009 during his second term amid the corruption allegations.

He gained international notoriety when he married US actress LisaRaye McCoy in a lavish hilltop ceremony. But McCoy later testified against her estranged husband during a 2008 British government commission of enquiry.

The corruption probe is entering its fourth year. A law firm hired to recover the land recently reported to the governor that it had recovered about 2,500 acres of land valued at about US$100 million.

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