On Thursday, a former Barbados Government minister will know his fate on money laundering charges brought against him by the United States Government.
Both the prosecution and defense closed their cases today in the case in which former minister and senior member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Donville Inniss is charged with two counts of money laundering along with conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to BDS$1 million.
When the hearing resumes on Thursday the closing arguments, followed by the summations will be put to the jury for deliberation.
The former Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development has been accused by the United States of accepting bribes from the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL) in 2015 and 2016 totalling over US$36 000, while he was a minister of the Crown.
Additionally, it is alleged that Inniss conspired to hide the payment by having the money sent to a New York dental company, then into his bank account through a number of transfers.
After calling six witnesses in the case against Inniss which began on Monday in the Eastern District Federal Court in New York, lead prosecutor Sylvia Shweder today told District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto that the US Government was resting its case.
Anthony Ricco, the lead attorney for Inniss, also revealed to the court that the defense would also rest its case.
After consulting with both parties, Judge Matsumoto adjourned the matter for the rest of the day at 1:25 p.m. She explained that because a juror had indicated they had a 2 p.m. appointment on Wednesday the case would be adjourned until Thursday.
At that time, Judge Matsumoto said the prosecution and defense would make closing arguments followed by the summation.
The 12-member jury is then expected to deliberate and return a verdict.
On the second day of trial, two witnesses took to the stand: FBI special agent Stephanie Krug and FBI forensic accountant Eric van Born.
Under examination from Schweder, Krug read documents which revealed that while Crystal Dental Lab Limited, the company which is alleged to have received the payments to Inniss, was incorporated in 1992 the company had been dissolved in 2004.
That business had been registered to a Roger Clarke, who was named as its president.
Krug also disclosed that a visit to the 1561 Hampstead Turnpike, Elmont, New York address which had been given for Crystal Dental Lab, revealed no such business.
She said at that address was a building called Universal Dental Associates.
Krug said following additional investigations by the FBI, Inniss was arrested in August 2018 at the Tampa International Airport.
The witness also revealed several emails between Inniss and officials from the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC) in which recommendations were made about which insurance companies should be awarded the contract to provide insurance for the BIDC.
Following a meeting of the board of directors, it was recommended that ICBL be awarded 70 per cent and Consumers Guarantee Insurance 30 per cent.
Under cross examination from Ricco, Krug admitted that ICBL had been doing business with the Barbados Government before Inniss became Minister of Commerce.
However, she said she was unsure if ICBL had been doing business with the BIDC prior to that time.
Krug also said she was unaware if ICBL was still in fact doing business with BIDC.
In his brief time on the witness stand, van Born revealed that he had been assigned to assist with the financials of ICBL, Crystal Dental, Donville Inniss and Roger Clarke.
He said the US$16 536.73 which had been wired to Crystal Dental Labs on August 17, 2015, was exactly five per cent of ICBL’s premium of $661, 469.30 for insurance coverage to the BIDC in 2015.
Van Born also calculated that the US$20 000 which had been wired to Crystal Dental Labs in 2016, was just under five per cent of the $915 982.90 premium offered by ICBL to the BIDC.
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