PORT OF SPAIN: Ministers in the Trinidad & Tobago government have all come under suspicion after weekend reports that one or more relatives of one of them is/are ‘assisting’ the FBI in the United States.
Opposition leader Keith Rowley wants the Minister concerned to identify him or herself to lift the cloud hanging over his or her colleagues.
The Trinidad Guardian reported at the weekend that at least one son of a Minister had, since December, been “under house arrest in the US. . . assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service with investigations.”
The report added: “Sources say US authorities have already signalled their intention to interview the Minister, who they say will assist greatly in their investigations.”
Investigations, it reported, centred on money-laundering, fraud and tax evasion.
Under US law, identities of those involved in a ‘sealed indictment’ investigation are not revealed by the authorities as a form of reputation protection should the case not come to trial.
The Guardian reported: “The case has taken investigators to different international jurisdictions and they have already gathered a dossier of financial statements from various countries . . . several high-ranking people worldwide are implicated and investigations are ongoing.
“International law enforcement agencies have also discovered numerous shady transactions involving the setting up of overnight companies and offshore banking accounts.”
The confidentiality was damaging to the reputations of many people not implicated, according to Rowley.
He told the Trinidad Express: “I think the minister should be identified and the public shouldn’t be left to speculate, and at that stage we would determine the nature of the problem.
“It is not fair to be left to speculation against the whole Cabinet … whoever is involved should come forward and identify himself or herself because there is a lot of speculation and rumour, and in the public interest a matter like this should not be left as a speculative manner.”
A sealed indictment can be issued if a grand jury decides enough evidence exists to consider bringing a case a trial.
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