(RealNews)Attorney-at-law Dwyer Astaphan is concerned about the Global Bank of Commerce situation and its possible repercussions on the regional banking sector and with international financial regulators.
The bank has been facing legal challenges since last year, after a depositor was unable to withdraw his money – reportedly US$10 million – upon request, which forced a court case.
Astaphan, a citizen of St. Kitts & Nevis and a former Minister of Security in that country, says that a number of international bodies, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), will be on further high alert for financial activities within the region.
The OECD is a unique forum in which the governments of 37 countries collaborate to develop policy standards for promoting sustainable economic growth.
Since Global Bank is an offshore financial institution, it does not fall under the ambit of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.
Accordingly, Astaphan is also concerned about funds belonging to the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) that reportedly are held by the bank.
He has a number of questions about that arrangement, including why CIP monies were being deposited into an offshore bank.
Meanwhile, according to the attorney, a statement that was put out by the bank on Monday, January 9, was just “fluff,” intended to negate the issues at hand.
In its release, the bank refuted media reports that the Court had ordered it to repay the depositor. The bank contended that it had not been ordered to do so; that discussions among the parties were ongoing; and that it was not under the supervision of any regulatory authority.
However, a Consent Order from the Court went into wide circulation on the weekend, confirming that an agreement to repay the depositor by last Friday, January 6, had been reached. According to unconfirmed reports, that Consent Order was not honoured.
Astaphan was also floored by statements made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who said the depositor was “greedy” for demanding his money and filing the court case. Browne said, then, that the funds were not available because they had used for national development.
Astaphan says his comments on events in Antigua and Barbuda are not meant to be political; rather, they are made without malice since his interest lies in the country’s welfare.
He declares he has no loyalty to any politician – neither in Antigua and Barbuda, nor in St. Kitts & Nevis, nor anywhere else – but his allegiance is to principles and good governance.