Vincentian prosecutor details case against Bermudian
A prosecutor has detailed allegations against a Bermudian man on trial in St Vincent accused of laundering $1.7 million of alleged dirty cash found on a yacht.
The Royal Gazette reported yesterday, Winston Franklin Robinson has been in custody since his arrest in April 2008, when the cash was found on the vessel
Prosecutors in St Vincent allege the boat set sail from Bermuda prior to the discovery of the gigantic cash haul in St Vincent.
Mr Robinson, originally from Sandys, went on trial there last week along with two other men accused in the case; Kent Andrews, of Trinidad and Tobago and Antonio Gellizeau, of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
No local media have been covering the case at the Serious Crimes Court.
However, responding to a request from
The Royal Gazette for information about the trial yesterday, St Vincent’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Colin Williams, explained: “Robinson and Andrews sailed to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines from Bermuda aboard the vessel
“That, boat the prosecution alleges, is owned by Gellizeau. Robinson, prior to his trip on which he was arrested, sailed the vessel from Saint Lucia to Bermuda. Robinson and Andrews arrived in Port Elizabeth, Bequia, where Gellizeau was on board another of his vessels, the Orion. They did not provide any notification of their arrival to the customs.
“Police detained the Jo-Tobin, commenced a search of the vessel, and found some money concealed close the water tank, whereupon Robinson told them there was more money to be found close to the other water compartment. Roughly $1.7 million US million was recovered.”
Mr Robinson and Mr Andrews were arrested soon after the discovery, and have remained in custody since. Gellizeau was arrested in December 2008, and has been on bail since.
Mr Williams explained: “The three men are charged with offences in breach of the Proceeds of Crime and Money Laundering Prevention Act. There is also a charge of a breach of the Customs Act, for failing to notify the authorities.
“They are charged therefore with money laundering offences; Robinson and Andrews of importing the criminal proceeds of another, Gellizeau with importing his criminal proceeds.”
According to the prosecutor, a constitutional challenge launched by the defendants is the reason the trial did not begin earlier.
“This matter has already been litigated all the way up to the Court of Appeal on points of law that are well settled: whether to prosecute a person for money laundering is a breach of the constitutional right to property,” he said.
The maximum sentence the Magistrate hearing the trial can impose is five years.
However, Mr Williams explained: “There is a provision in the Criminal Procedure Code of this country that if the Magistrate considers, given the gravity of the offending, that the powers of sentencing are too limited, then the matter can be sent up to the High Court for sentencing.”
l Do you know Winston Franklin Robinson? E-mail eroberts[AT]royalgazette.bm or call 278-0156.