Moniz denies shredding Lahey documents

  • Trevor Moniz, former attorney-general (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Trevor Moniz, former attorney-general (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Former attorney-general Trevor Moniz denied last night he had shredded documents connected to the government lawsuit against the US-based Lahey Clinic.

Mr Moniz added that he had never used evidence from a parallel criminal case to support the civil case, which named Ewart Brown, a former premier and a doctor, as a co-conspirator with Lahey to fleece the island’s healthcare system of millions of dollars — a case that was dismissed by a US Federal judge.

The One Bermuda Alliance shadow attorney-general also dismissed claims that he had breached the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the US and Bermuda.

Mr Moniz said: “It was insinuated that I or others at my direction destroyed documents relating to the Lahey lawsuit.

“Let me categorically state that this is false. No documents of any value were shredded during my time as Attorney-General, by me or at my direction.

“I have no idea why anyone would allege that I was shredding documents in a case which I was supporting.” Mr Moniz said that documents were forwarded to the overseas legal firm Cooley LLP for storage, most of them in electronic form.

He added: “My own concerns for the safe custody of sensitive material led me to the decision to entrust these files to Cooley.

“I acted in a way that I felt would maintain the integrity of these investigations and to protect the underlying evidence that supported them.”

Mr Moniz told MPs that there had been a leak of “highly sensitive correspondence” from the Attorney-General’s Chambers last year

He said: “It is alleged that I breached the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between Bermuda and the USA. This is false — there never was any breach of the treaty.”

Mr Moniz added: “The US Department of Justice did write to us on February 15, 2017.

“However, let me be clear — when I was Attorney-General, neither I nor any lawyer on behalf of the Government of Bermuda used material from a criminal investigation to support the proceedings.

Everything in the Lahey civil complaint was sourced from locally available evidence owned or maintained by the Government of Bermuda.”

Mr Moniz said he had written back to the US Department of Justice the next day.

He added the Justice Department wrote back: “I am in receipt of the Attorney-General’s letter.

“Please thank the Attorney-General for his prompt response.

“Because of the letter, I don’t think we need to have a telephone conference call.

“I have forwarded the letter to the Assistant US Attorney in Boston and my supervisors here.

“I think this letter addresses the concerns raised by the AUSA and our office.”

Mr Moniz told Dennis Lister, Speaker of the House, that he had seen “the full chain of correspondence”, and that he was sure he would agree any treaty concerns were dealt with.

He was speaking after he apologised “unreservedly” to the Speaker in a row over the Lahey case that led to Mr Moniz being ordered out of the House of Assembly last Friday.

Mr Moniz added: “Any suggestion that I somehow orchestrated my removal from the House is ridiculous. I intend to confront the allegations made against me head-on.”

Mr Moniz said MPs were told last week that the cost of the Lahey lawsuit could reach $4 million.

He added: “It was stated that I approved the payment of $3 million, insinuating that this was all earmarked for the Lahey case, which is not true.

“I do not know what the final costs will be as I’ve been out of office since July last year.

“However, before the 2017 General Election, Cabinet had authorised up to $2 million for payment to Cooley in support of a comprehensive programme of civil litigation and recovery of the proceeds of crime. This programme involved 12 separate cases.

“The entire programme was paid out of the Confiscated Assets Fund.

“This fund was set up as part of Bermuda’s efforts to deprive criminals of their ill-gotten gains.

“Monies from the Fund can be used for law enforcement purposes but cannot be used for general government expenditure.

Mr Moniz added that an attorney-general who is a political appointment is not responsible for criminal prosecutions, which are carried out by the Director of Public Prosecutions, but that the Attorney-General did protect the legal interests of the Government.

Mr Moniz said: “Let me be as emphatic as I can about a specific point before it is even raised.

“At no point was I ever involved in any operational or investigative decision by the Bermuda Police Service or in any charging decision by the DPP.

“In addition, the allegation that I have a former member’s bank accounts or other personal files is absurd and untrue.”

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding court cases. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.

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