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Que Pasa, Bermudian guilty in largest money laundering case in OECS

Que Pasa, Bermudian  guilty in largest money laundering case in OECS

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“There is life after this. My empire wasn’t built on people!” Anthony ‘Que Pasa’ Gellizeau shouted these words to reporters outside the Serious Offences Court on March 9, 2012, shortly after being found guilty in the largest money laundering case ever in the OECS.{{more}}

After the nearly four-year legal battle, Gellizeau along with Bermudan Winston Robinson were, on Friday, March 9, found guilty by Chief Magistrate Sonya Young.

As the Chief Magistrate announced the verdict, the beefed up security in and outside the courtroom was obvious.

Gellizeau was guilty of concealing on the Yacht “Jotobin” on April 5, 2008, at Calliaqua, US$1,733,463 (EC$4,628,346), which in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, represents proceeds of criminal conduct.

He was also convicted of bringing the money into St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the yacht.

The 69-year-old Robinson was found guilty of concealing US$1,733,463 (EC$4,628,346) on the yacht Jotobin on April 5, 2008 at Calliaqua, knowing or suspecting or having reasonable grounds to suspect, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly that the money represented another person’s proceeds of criminal conduct.

He was also found guilty of bringing the money into St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, Chief Magistrate Young ruled that Robinson was not guilty of entering SVG without notifying the Comptroller of Customs of the intended time of arrival.

A third man, Trinidadian Kent Andrews, who was jointly charged with Gellizeau and Robinson, was found not guilty on all charges.

The Chief Magistrate did not deliver a written judgment in the matter. Young said she was sending the matter to the High Court for sentencing.

However, a date was not set for sentencing.

With the silence in the courtroom almost palpable, Gellizeau laughed after Young made her ruling. He was then made to sit on the prisoner’s bench before being led away to prison.

As members of the Rapid Response Unit guarded the precincts of the court house, some of Gellizeau’s relatives and friends voiced their disapproval of the Chief Magistrate’s ruling.

One woman shouted, “Tony na do nothing. Them ain’t going fo de people who dem fo really go fa.”

The men did not show much emotion after being found guilty, as they waited outside the court to be seated in the back of the police transport.

Shortly after the matter’s conclusion, members of the prosecution and defense teams hastily made their way out of the courthouse and drove off in their vehicles.

SEARCHLIGHT has learnt that an order has already been prepared for confiscation of the US$ 1.7 million found on the yacht, as well as Gellizeau’s other assets. That order will have to be made at the High Court before Gellizeau is sentenced.

In June 2008, several of Gellizeau’s assets were frozen by order of the court. The assets include bank accounts, Flexible Premium Annuities with CLICO and vehicles which were registered to him, his family members and associates. Assets belonging to Gellizeau and his relatives were also frozen in Trinidad and St. Lucia.

At the trial, Robinson told the court that the US$1.7 million seized aboard the yacht Jotobin in 2008 belonged to him. He said that he had accumulated the money while working in the hotel and fishing industry in Bermuda, and had hidden his money in a hole and was saving it since the 1980s.

On April 5, 2008, police officers and coastguard officials raided the Jotobin in the Bequia waters. Andrews and Robinson were on board that vessel. The men were escorted on their vessel back to the Coastguard base at Calliaqua.

On that same date, Gellizeau was also anchored in Bequia on his boat “Orion”. He too was searched by police officers. He was then escorted on his boat back to the Coastguard base at Calliaqua.

After both vessels arrived at Calliaqua, another search was conducted, but nothing was found on board Orion and Gellizeau was released. It was while searching Jotobin, in the left cabin, just below the bow of the boat, that 44 packages containing US currency in the right cabinet and another 44 from the cabinet on the left side of the bow were found.

Trinidadian Theodore Guerra, St. Lucian Alberton Richelieu and Stephen Williams are counsel for the defendants.

Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, crown counsel Sejilla McDowall and attorney LaTeisha Sandy of the Financial Intelligence Unit led the case for the prosecution.(KW)

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