September 21, 2020

US say Belize offshore companies scammed 1 billion!

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matalon9.9.14aFrom 7 News Belize

Tonight [Tue Sep 9], Belize’s Offshore Banking sector is under extreme scrutiny from US authorities, and they have local police doing their work. The US Department of Justice says they are cracking the key play players in a billion dollar scheme to defraud US tax authorities.

It’s playing out right now at the fourth floor of the Matalon Building on Coney Drive at the office of Titan Securities. At 1:00 pm, three police pickups and the Financial Intelligence Unit swept in, reportedly to confiscate all documents and they may also arrest at least three persons who have been named in a US indictment. They are 51 year old Belizean ANDREW GODFREY, 34 year old Bahamian KELVIN LEACH and 29 year old Bahamian Rohn Knowles. Leach and Knowles are principals in Titan, while Godfrey also has an office on the fourth floor.

matalon9.9.14bThey are three of 6 persons named in a US indictment, which was unsealed today in New York. A release from the department of Justice says that the multi-count indictment is against six defendants, including the three we already named and Robert Bandfield, who is a U.S. citizen very well known in Belize’s Offshore Banking sector; 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 which is based at the Gordon building.

The indictment says they are accused of a list of charges including conspiracy to commit securities fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering.

Bandfield has already been arrested and will appear in a new York Court tomorrow. As for the others, three of whom are in Belize, the press release says that the US government will seek extradition for them.

So if you’re scratching your head and wondering what’s all this is about – that’s understandable because the offshore banking sector can be very mysterious, and intentionally so. And that mystery is just what the US Department of Justice alleges the accused companies and persons used to break US tax laws. The release says, quote,

matalon9.9.14“Bandfield and his co-conspirators devised not only a fraudulent scheme but an elaborate corporate structure based on lies and deceit designed to enable U.S. citizens to evade and circumvent our securities and tax laws. They set up sham companies with figureheads at the helm in an attempt to deceive U.S. law enforcement and regulators and bragged about their scheme to their clients.” End quote.

The US Department of Justice alleges that the accused created shell companies in Belize and Nevis, West Indies, for, quote, “the corrupt clients…(it continues) This structure was designed to conceal the corrupt clients’ ownership interest in the stock of U.S. public companies, in violation of U.S. securities laws”

The release goes unto say, quote, “Today’s sweeping indictment, charging the individuals and companies responsible for this $500 million (US dollar) 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.”

That is strong talk – and a strong message to Belize’s Offshore sector which the US has been gradually choking with increasingly oppressive legislation, basically forced upon the government. And, now, Belize police are doing the enforcement side. That’s where it stands this evening. When we left at 6:15 pm, the police officers were still in the office, and none of the employees, including over five Belizean officer workers had been allowed to go home. When we left this evening, a huge cargo truck pulled up – we had seen that same truck earlier at the Gordon building, also on Coney Drive.

The days to come will tell how the extradition proceedings go – but we are very much in new territory with this very direct crackdown on Belize’s offshore sector.

For more on this story go to: http://www.7newsbelize.com/index.php#story1

Related story

U.S. indicts six people for alleged $500 m offshore fraud & money laundering scheme

By David Marchant From OffshoreAlert

Individual defendants are Robert Bandfield, Andrew Godfrey, Kelvin Leach, Rohn Knowles, Brian De Wit, & Cem Can

Corporate defendants are IPC Management Services, LLC, IPC Corporate Services Inc., IPC Corporate Services LLC, Titan International Securities, Inc., Legacy Global Markets S.A., & Unicorn International Securities LLC

Six citizens of the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, and the United States and six corporations have been criminally indicted in New York for allegedly perpetrating a $500 million offshore asset protection, securities fraud, and money laundering scheme.

For more: http://www.offshorealert.com/robert-bandfield-ipc-corporate-indicted-for-fraud-money-laundering.aspx

 

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