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Police interview person over $800,000 Savvy deal

Savvy Entertainment chief executive Anthony Blakey (Photograph supplied)

Police confirmed last night that “a person of interest” was helping with inquiries in connection with an $800,000 government deal with an American music promoter.The news came after lawyers for the Government failed to locate Anthony Blakey in Georgia to serve him with a legal demand to return the bulk of the cash, plus interest.Police did not identify the individual being interviewed — but it is understood to be Danilee Trott, a Bermudian event planner who worked with Mr Blakey.The loan agreement from April 2018 was signed by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Blakey and Ms Trott.A police spokesman said: “The investigation into the matter involving Savvy Entertainment continues with individuals closely associated with the situation interviewed and evidence — electronic and otherwise — being gathered.“A person of interest is now assisting police with the ongoing investigation.“Additional interviews will take place within the next few days.”The loan agreement said that the money would be used to set up a “top-level” recording studio for Bermudian and international artists and to ship recording equipment to Bermuda.A studio was expected to be set up in the historic Moresby House, on Pender Road, in Sandys. But a civil action filed at the Supreme Court in June last year against Mr Blakey and Ms Trott said they had defaulted on $778,204 of the loan.Ms Trott said that she did not hold any shares in Savvy and did not get any of the loan cash.The latest twist happened after the One Bermuda Alliance yesterday appealed to the Auditor-General to investigate the contract.Douglas De Couto, the OBA candidate in Warwick North Central, said: “David Burt, the Premier, talks about his belief in transparency. “If that is the case, I expect him to agree with this request. What is there to hide?“We have been given excuses. Mr Burt tried to blame the Civil Service, but we have not been given answers.”Mr De Couto questioned what assets were used to secure the loan, and why money was “just handed over”.He said: “The only way to find the answers to these questions is to have the Auditor-General investigate. This money belongs to the people, we need to know where it has gone.“There are still too many questions that need answers: why were the police only notified when this came to light last week? Was there an intent to inform the police? Why was a foreign company with a foreign owner allowed to receive this money?”A Progressive Labour Party spokeswoman said: “There are already a number of agencies working to recover the funds from the defaulted loan and investigating all matters surrounding it. This includes the Bermuda Police Service. “We would welcome the Auditor-General to look into the loan and encourage them to do so. “It was the PLP that strengthened the office of the Auditor-General and that office is fiercely independent. “We encourage our friends in the OBA to write to the Auditor-General and present their evidence along with their findings of wrongdoing so it can be fully and properly investigated if the Auditor-General deems it worthy of their time.”Heather Thomas, the Auditor-General, said yesterday that she had not received a request to audit the Savvy Entertainment deal.Ms Thomas added: “We cannot audit everything and so we focus our resources on the areas that are most significant and relevant to all stakeholders.”A spokeswoman for the Office of the Auditor-General said the office could not review matters outside of the post’s mandate.The Auditor-General also cannot review legal decisions, provide legal opinions or audit material that is before the courts.The office cannot review policy decisions, but she can look into how government departments or organisations have implemented decisions and if the decision-making process was in line with standards.Mr Burt last week apologised for the $800,000 government loan.• On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on what we consider to be a controversial or contentious story. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.