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Police raid Brown’s clinics

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Clinic targeted: police swooped on Bermuda HealthCare Services yesterday afternoon (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Police from the Organised and Economic Crime Department descended on two medical businesses run by Ewart Brown, the former Premier, over the weekend.

Both the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s and Bermuda HealthCare Services in Paget were targeted in a joint operation with uniformed and plain clothes officers.

Starting on Saturday afternoon, officers armed with warrants spent more than 24 hours at the two locations, and could be seen carrying away boxes; police later confirmed records had been seized.

The warrant, sought by Detective Sergeant James Hoyte of the Bermuda Police Service, cited reasonable grounds to suspect indictable offences: namely “corrupt practices and conspiracy to defraud”.

A police spokesman said yesterday: “Police officers from the Organised and Economic Crime Department executed search warrants at two medical offices on Saturday in connection with an ongoing investigation.

“The timing of the warrants was intended to minimise the impact on the businesses and their clients.

“A number of records were seized during the searches. Significant steps have been taken to protect the confidential nature of the information and to ensure that patient safety is not jeopardised in any way.

“No further information can be given at this time as this remains an open and active investigation.”

Police appeared to gain easy access at Bermuda HealthCare Services early on Saturday afternoon, but spent more than two hours waiting outside the Smith’s clinic before breaking a window and then forcing open the front door at around 4.30pm.

Both scenes were sealed with police tape and put under guard while the searches were executed. Detectives remained at both overnight on Saturday, finally leaving the Paget facility at 4pm yesterday but remaining at the Smith’s clinic into yesterday evening.

Dr Brown, the Premier of Bermuda from 2006 to 2010, was off the island at the time, although Progressive Labour Party MP Derrick Burgess briefly visited the Brown-Darrell Clinic and, in demanding access to the property, told police officers that no crime has been committed.

Dr Brown has repeatedly spoken out about the five-year police investigation, which he has branded as politically motivated. Last July, The Royal Gazette reported the investigation had cost more than $2.2 million; when asked by this newspaper yesterday, police did not provide an update on the cost so far.

Last May, Mahesh Reddy, the medical director at Bermuda Healthcare Services, was arrested in connection with a financial investigation — which Dr Reddy has been given the go-ahead to pursue in a civil lawsuit of his own, citing unlawful arrest.

Describing himself as the intended target, Dr Brown subsequently dismissed allegations that the practices had been charging for excessive diagnostic testing.

Bearing a magistrate’s signature, Saturday’s warrant approved a search of paper or electronic records, in particular citing the price documents for X-rays, ultrasounds, echocardiograms, MRIs and CT scans. It authorised searches on up to three occasions only within one month of its date, allowing for the seizure of any relevant materials.

The Royal Gazette contacted Dr Brown last night, but no comment was available.

It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.

Investigation scene: a police officer stands guard outside Bermuda HealthCare Services (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
The Brown-Darrell is the subject of much police activity (Photograph by Tim Smith)
PLP MP Derrick Burgess arrives on the scene at the Brown-Darrell Clinic (Photograph by Tim Smith)
Police tape blocks access to Bermuda Healthcare Services this afternoon (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
The scene at Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s (Photograph by Tim Smith)
The scene at Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s (Photograph by Tim Smith)