Categorized | Featured, National News

Bahamians Arrested In Belize

Bahamian nationals Rohn Knowles, 29 and Kelvin Leach, 34, wanted by U.S. authorities for their alleged roles in a string of illegalities related to investment fraud totalling some $500 million, were arrested in Belize over the weekend.

According to international media reports, sometime after 1:00 p.m. Friday, the pair was taken into custody on behalf of the US Government by Belizean law enforcement at the Phillip Goldson International Airport where they were scheduled to board a private charter to head back to The Bahamas.

The contention is that the men failed to declare the amount of money that was on them at the point of departure.

According to reports by Channel 5 Belize, Knowles and Leach were escorted by police to the Ladyville substation where they were met by officials from the Financial Intelligence Unit.

“There, a search of their luggage, as well as other personal belongings, was thoroughly conducted in the presence of Senior Counsel Godfrey Smith,” the report read. “In speaking with News Five off-record, Smith said that his clients, in the absence of an extradition request by the United States, were free to return to The Bahamas since their businesses here in Belize City were no longer operational. They were in the process of leaving when local authorities swept in.”

It was also reported that 51-year-old Belizean Andrew Godfrey was also arrested.

They are three of six people named in a US indictment.

Robert Bandfield, who is a US citizen very well known in Belize’s offhsore banking sector was also arrested along with Canadians Brian De Wit and Cem Can who have both been involved in the offshore sector in Belize.

Their companies were also named in the indictment.

Those that are registered in Belize are Titan International Securities, Inc., Legacy Global Markets which has a San Pedro Address, and Unicorn International Securities.

The indictment said they are accused of a list of charges including conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering valued at $500 million.

A release from the US Department of Justice alleges the accused companies and persons used to break US tax laws.
“Bandfield and his co-conspirators devised not only a fraudulent scheme but an elaborate corporate structure based on lies and deceit designed to enable US citizens to evade and circumvent our securities and tax laws,” the release read. “They set up sham companies with figureheads at the helm in an attempt to deceive US law enforcement and regulators and bragged about their scheme to their clients.”

The US Department of Justice alleges that the accused created shell companies in Belize and Nevis, West Indies, for, “the corrupt clients.”

“This structure was designed to conceal the corrupt clients’ ownership interest in the stock of US public companies, in violation of US securities laws,” it added.

“The sweeping indictment, charging the individuals and companies responsible for this $500 million scheme, closes this fraudulent offshore safe haven and sends a strong message to those who seek to abuse the financial markets in order to enrich themselves that we will investigate and prosecute them no matter where they set up shop.”

It is reported that the Bahamian men are still in custody in Belize and will try return to The Bahamas where they will fight extradition to the United States.

Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook