An­tigua Diplo­mat Finds Him­self in Midst of In­ter­na­tional Bribery Scan­dal

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - Cor­rupt ac­tiv­i­ties”. the pay­ment. Ode­brecht.

Declar­ing him­self in­no­cent of wrong­do­ing, em­bat­tled An­tigua and Bar­buda Am­bas­sador to the United Arab Emi­rates, Cas­roy James, has vowed to re­turn money paid to him by a Brazil­ian com­pany in­volved in an in­ter­na­tional bribery scan­dal.

An­tigua and Bar­buda was among coun­tries named in court doc­u­ments re­cently filed by the United States Gov­ern­ment which al­leged that Ode­brecht, a global con­struc­tion con­glom­er­ate, and other co-con­spir­a­tors paid nearly US$8 mil­lion in bribes to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in about a dozen coun­tries.

The doc­u­ments state that “in or about mid-2015, Ode­brecht Em­ployee 4 at­tended a meet­ing in Mi­ami, Florida, with a con­sular of­fi­cial from An­tigua and an in­ter­me­di­ary to a high-level gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial in An­tigua in or­der to con­ceal Ode­brecht’s “Ode­brecht Em­ployee 4 re­quested that the high-level of­fi­cial re­frain from pro­vid­ing to in­ter­na­tional au­thor­i­ties var­i­ous bank­ing doc­u­ments that would re­veal il­licit pay­ments made by the Di­vi­sion of Struc­tured Op­er­a­tions on be­half of Ode­brecht, and agreed to pay US$4 mil­lion to the high-level of­fi­cial to re­frain from send­ing the doc­u­ments,” they added.

Prime Min­is­ter Gas­ton Browne took strong ac­tion this week, fir­ing An­tigua & Bar­buda’s Hon­orary Con­sul to Brazil, Luis Franca, while de­mand­ing a full ex­pla­na­tion from James, warn­ing that he would be fired if he failed to give a “sat­is­fac­tory ex­pla­na­tion if any money has been paid to him”.

In a state­ment is­sued this week, James ad­mit­ted he at­tended the meet­ing and re­ceived an undis­closed sum of money, but was adamant that the funds were pay­ment for his work as an in­de­pen­dent con­sul­tant when he was work­ing on be­half of Global Res­i­dency and Ad­vi­sory Ser­vices Lim­ited.

Ac­cord­ing to the An­tigua Ob­server, James said Meinl Bank, which Ode­brecht ac­quired in 2010, made

“I at­tended the Mi­ami meet­ing as the prin­ci­pal of Global Res­i­dency and Ad­vi­sory Ser­vices Ltd and not as an agent of the An­tigua and Bar­buda Gov­ern­ment or as an agent for any An­tiguan gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial. I at­tended the Mi­ami meet­ing in a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional ca­pac­ity,” the am­bas­sador ex­plained in his state­ment.

He strongly de­nied know­ing that his client was in­volved in any il­le­gal ac­tiv­ity, or that he had rea­son to be­lieve that Meinl Bank was in any way af­fil­i­ated to

Ac­cord­ing to the United States Depart­ment of Jus­tice, Ode­brecht pleaded guilty to one count of crim­i­nal in­for­ma­tion and agreed to pay a com­bined to­tal penalty of at least US$3.5 bil­lion to re­solve charges with the au­thor­i­ties.

It is al­leged that Ode­brecht, a global con­struc­tion con­glom­er­ate, and co-con­spir­a­tors paid nearly US$8 mil­lion in bribes to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in a dozen coun­tries.

Caught up in scan­dal: An­tigua and Bar­buda Am­bas­sador to the United Arab Emi­rates, Cas­roy James.

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