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GOB steps in to settle Atlantic International matter

GOB steps in to settle Atlantic International matter
May 10
14:54 2019

The government of Belize has met with US authorities, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC, following an interrogation of government Senator Aldo Salazar last week in connection with his ties to Atlantic International Bank, which has been named in an FTC case investigating the largest real estate scam ever uncovered by the agency and carried out in Belize.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow confirmed this week that Salazar had been stopped for questioning by the FTC while returning home as part of a delegation to Taiwan. Salazar, who represents the bank as its attorney, was questioned about the bank’s involvement with the Sanctuary Bay case being investigated by the FTC.

Barrow said he had met with the US Charge d’Affaires last week and had been in communication with the FTC. He also disclosed that a “settlement” was discussed and said he was hopeful one could be reached. “The question is how to reconcile the FTC’s interest, as they put it, victim compensation and our interests, which also has to be their interest,” Barrow added. He noted that the appointed liquidator now has custody of the defunct bank but said the Central Bank has a vested interest in the matter and by extension, the government.

“We want whatever cloud the AIBL saga has caused to be lifted from over our jurisdiction,” PM Barrow said.

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 companies registered in Belize. The scam was uncovered last year and has been described by the FTC as the largest case of real estate fraud it has ever investigated.

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