The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemns the false allegations, made by convicted criminal, Monte Friesner, in a recording being circulated through social media, regarding involvement of Antigua and Barbuda banks and government officials, including Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
In the recording sent to Crusader radio, owned and operated by the United Progressive Party, Friesner falsely claims that Antigua and Barbuda officials and banks are implicated in the recent arrest and indictment of Mr. Alex Saab Moran in the United States.
Friesner’s claim, which appeared in a blog written by another convicted money launderer, Ken Rijock, is shown to be completely false in the publicly available US indictment of Alex Saab Moran on charges of alleged money laundering.
The indictment in the US District Court, Southern District of Florida dated 25th July 2019, makes it clear that the seven transactions, for which Mr. Moran is charged, took place between an account in Panama and Citibank in Florida. No where in the indictment is Antigua and Barbuda or any of its Government officials or banks mentioned. Friesner and Rijock have made the patently false allegations about Antigua and Barbuda in a continuing smear campaign to support their scandal blogs from which they make money.
The publicly available indictment can be read at https://infodio.com/sites/default/files/2019-07/Screenshot%202019-07-26%20at%2007.41.18.png
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also points out the following pertinent information that reveals the falsehoods of the Friesner/Rijock allegations concerning any involvement of Antigua and Barbuda government officials in matters that led to the arrest and indictment of Mr. Moran.
Not only did the referenced transactions occur between Panama and the United States, the period of these transactions began in 2011, three years before the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party came into office. Further, while Mr. Moran was appointed as an Economic Envoy in November 2014, there was no evidence of any offense or any changes against him until April of this year when authorities in Colombia issued an arrest warrant for him. At that time, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda immediately revoked his appointment as an Economic Envoy and his diplomatic passport was nullified.
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda upholds and respects freedom of the press but points out that the scandal blogs of Rijock and Friesner, two convicted criminals, are not reputable journals nor are they subject to the standards to which the media adheres. (ends)