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Crime proceeds of $826,000 ordered forfeited

Police Superintendent Sean Field-Lament (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the forfeiture of $826,000 in cash which was seized from a local hotel in March 2015.

In a police operation, officers entered a hotel room to discover the money secreted in a safe.

The raid led to the arrest of 25-year-old Yeshayahu Baruch Zirkind.

However, in January this year criminal charges against Mr Zirkind were dismissed after a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Archibald Warner.

Mr Zirkind, who is of Israeli- American descent but lives in China, had arrived in Bermuda a week before his arrest.

He originally appeared in court last year when magistrates heard that the money, the majority of which was in Bermudian currency, was seized from a safe in the Fairmont Southampton along with several mobile phones.

Magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo set bail at $100,000 with a like surety, on the condition that Mr Zirkind surrender his travel documents, not leave the jurisdiction without the permission of the courts, notify the police of his residence, and report to the nearest police station three times a week.

Later all of those conditions were waived after the case was dismissed but a civil case followed.

And yesterday morning, the Supreme Court announced that all of the cash would be forfeited.

“The Attorney-General’s Chambers, represented by Deputy Solicitor-General Shakira Dill Francois, and the Bermuda Police Service, utilised civil powers under the ‘Proceeds of Crime Act’ to restrain, and ultimately recover the monies that had been destined to be taken out of the island as suspected criminal proceeds,” said a police spokesman.

Superintendent Sean Field-Lament, head of the BPS Crime Division, said: “We view this fantastic result as sending a strong message to criminal organisations that we will continue to target the incentive for crime, and will use every opportunity to take the profit away from criminals.”