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Barbados company in bribe scandal named

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Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) has been revealed as the unnamed company in the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York indictment proceedings against ex-Barbados government minister, Donville Inniss, who faces money-laundering charges in New York.

When the indictment against Inniss was unveiled Monday, it alleged that between 2015 and 2016 the minister of industry, international business, commerce and small business development in the last government had collaborated with three persons in an insurance company in Barbados to renew a state agency insurance at a premium of almost $1 million, and in turn received $36,000 in a series of wired payments.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, the insurance company officials conspired to have the Bermuda based firm that owns the Barbados insurer to forward payments to a New York dental firm, which then sent on the monies to a bank accountant in the name of Inniss.

It is alleged that the Barbados officials had indicated to the Bermuda parent company that the money was owed to the dental office for consulting services.

The Bermuda Gazette newspaper Thursday reported that BF&M is the majority owner of ICBL.

“John Wight, chief executive officer of BF&M, confirmed to The Royal Gazette yesterday that the Barbadian insurer is the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd (ICBL), in which BF&M has a majority interest,” the newspaper reported.

BF&M bought a majority share of ICBL from the government of Barbados for $25.85 million in November 2005 and now owns a 51.7 per cent stake in the company through its wholly owned subsidiary, Hamilton Financial Ltd., which is based in St. Lucia.

Established in 1978 as a statutory corporation and subsequently privatized in December 2000, ICBL boasts 2,300 shareholders inclusive of institutional investors and individuals representing 48.3 per cent of the company’s ownership.

Indicating that the parent company had known of the alleged corrupt activity, Wight, who is chairman of ICBL, told Bermuda Gazette, “in 2016 the board of directors of ICBL became aware of improper conduct by certain senior managers.

“ICBL has a zero-tolerance policy for this conduct and immediately dealt with the issue in the appropriate manner. I am not able to elaborate any further on this matter at this time.”

In January 2017, ICBL announced that Ingrid Innes had resigned as the Barbados company’s CEO and had stepped down from its board of directors.

At the time of this resignation Barbadians thought it unusual as no explanation was given for the sudden departure of such a senior person.

Inniss, 52, is now confined to New York and wears an electronic monitoring bracelet while he awaits a court trial date of August 23 to face a three-count indictment: conspiracy to launder money; and two counts of money laundering.

Posted 12:00 am, August 12, 2018
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