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Probe into missing $800k lent to create recording studio continues

Ongoing investigation: Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley (File photograph)

A long-running investigation into the disappearance of $800,000 of public funds loaned to create a recording studio that never got off the ground is still under way, the police commissioner has said.

The police inquiry was launched last September after Government gave the cash to Anthony Blakey, a US music promoter, to set up a recording studio in the old HMS Malabar, now Moresby House, in Dockyard in 2018.

But the project never got off the ground, Mr Blakey never repaid the cash and the authorities have been unable to track him down.

Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said at the regular Covid-19 briefing last Thursday that the investigation was “not simple” and involved dealing with overseas authorities.

But Mr Corbishley insisted: “It continues to be investigated.

I think it’s fair to say an investigation is a search for the truth. I’m grateful for Government support who have been transparent with the origins of this loan.

“There have been a number of parties spoken to. I am updated on it and to echo the point of the Premier, the BPS will focus on complaints of wrongdoing and this is a complaint, but at this stage there is nothing to update.

“If matters are presented on to the Department of Public Prosecutions or even if the investigation is ended then we’ll make an announcement in that regard.

“I’m not being vague but obviously I’m just saying the investigation is ongoing.”

Demand for payment notices were served at the registered offices of Mr Blakey’s company – Savvy Entertainment – in June 2019.

Bermudian event planner Danilee Trott, a Bermudian event planner who worked for Mr Blakey, was also served with a notice.

The Government also hired lawyers in Atlanta to serve a notice, but they were unsuccessful.

Civil servants met police officers last September to file an official complaint.

Mr Corbishley said he could not say when the investigation might be completed.

He explained: “I’m not going to answer that because investigations go the direction that they go.

“Certainly It’s one that is not simple. It’s one that involves a party overseas so inquiries are being done through that and there are inquiries to be done financially and again, echoing a positive aspect, Bermuda has very strong financial controls, whether it be through the BMA or legislation that we have, so we can readily identify certain issues that are supportive of investigations.

“And its one where we’re engaging with a number of different partners.

“We have to work expeditiously of course, but I’m not going to commit to a date when we have to make a decision.”

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