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Did ‘Sanctuary Belize’ Scandal Kill Atlantic International?

Did ‘Sanctuary Belize’ Scandal Kill Atlantic International?
March 29
11:27 2019

Reports emerged this week that Atlantic International Bank, one of only a handful of offshore financial institutions registered in Belize, is facing a closure of its operations which could possibly be related to the fallout from the Sanctuary Bay real estate scandal, in which the bank was named as part of the investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Atlantic International has yet to issue an official statement on the matter, however reports have indicated that some employees of the bank have received letters informing them of the bank’s imminent closure and arranging transfers. Unconfirmed reports are that a large number of the bank’s depositors have withdrawn their funds, which may have added to the pressure already facing the institution in light of the Sanctuary Bay investigation.

In a statement from the Central Bank of Belize, the financial regulator says it has received certain information regarding the Atlantic International situation and has initiated remedial actions to protect the interests of depositors and customers consistent with its statutory duties and responsibilities. The Central Bank also noted that it has not undertaken any action to disrupt the operations of Atlantic International. “Any such inference in the public domain is simply untrue,” the statement said.

The Central Bank also said the matter continues to receive its attention and said the public can be assured that it is assessing the situation closely and in a manner consistent with its mandate.

Financial Secretary Joseph Waight also told the Reporter that if indeed true, the closure could have negative implications for Belize’s offshore sector. The closure of Atlantic International, if true, follows the closure of Choice Bank, another offshore bank which shut down under controversial circumstances, now the subject of an ongoing court battle. According to Waight, there were only about four main offshore financial institutions, and with the loss of two, internationally the sector now seems unstable and could affect investor confidence.

Sanctuary Bay is a company accused of defrauding US investors out of over $100 million. A number of persons and companies have been named in the case including several foreign companies registered in Belize that are not owned by Belizeans or controlled by any Belizean .

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