Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he does not think that the name of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has suffered as a result of two of its citizens and two offshore banks based here being indicted in a US$50 million fraud case in the United States.
“In banking business, from time to time, you may have things which are done where allegations are made. Even within ordinary commercial banks,” he told a press conference in Kingstown on Monday.
Vincentian Linda Bullock, 57, and Adrian Baron, 63, who is originally from Hungary, along with Loyal Bank, an off-shore bank with offices in Budapest, Hungary and SVG; and Loyal Agency and Trust Corp. (“Loyal Agency”), an off-shore management company located SVG, are among six individuals and four corporate defendants indicted in US$50 million international securities fraud and money laundering schemes.
The indictment in New York was unsealed on March 1.
Asked if he thinks that the indictment of the Vincentian nationals and corporate entities in the alleged schemes have damaged the nation’s reputation, Gonsalves said:
“Did the billions of dollars in which [Bernard] Madoff was involved in skimming off in New York, has that tarnished the name of New York City? If the billion which we have problem with — you read about it all the time — with what happened in London, the city of London, the city of London is still the leading financial centre in the world.
“The point about it is this: is how you have the oversight, the laws you have, the structure, the systems that you have in place. And I want to say this: under this government, we established two important institutions in this respect which we are talking about: the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Services Authority.”