The Sanctuary Bay Saga and the Choice Bank liquidation has exposed the Central Bank and governor as either lying to the Belizean pubic or as grossly incompetent. In a complex mixture of scandals we have Frank Costanzo throwing the Central Bank under the proverbial bus.
Below are excerpt of a signed Declaration, under the risk of perjury, by Frank Costanzo.
These are bulleted points 6 to 8 points of 11.
- In 2016, CBB became concerned that lot owners in Sanctuary Belize were paying their lot payments to California, not Belize. Although the CBB stated that this practice violated Belizean exchange regulations, their main concern was that, because the money went to California first, it was not included in Belize’s GDP statistics. In response, SBE sent letters to lot owners requesting that money be sent to Belize. We received several complaints from lot owners in response to this billing change. Allowing lot owners to pay a U.S.-based company was integral to the success of SBE because it gave prospective purchasers confidence they would otherwise lack when investing overseas. Because this was important, SBE decided to try to resolve this problem with CBB as soon as possible. SBE used a lobbyist, Beverly Burke, to deal with CBB and other Belizean government officials. A true and correct copy of her contract and related emails are Attachment 3 hereto. We also requested meetings and used our contacts to ensure that lot purchasers could make payments to the United States.
7. CBB requested that SBE provide several records, including lot owners’ passports, copies of the lot owners’ contracts with SBE, and full financial disclosures showing what SBE did with the money it received from lot owners. After months of dealing with Mr. Glenford Ysaguirre, the then-Governor of CBB, he stated that if we provided this information to CBB then CBB would give SBE a compliance letter. SBE provided the passports and contracts to CBB, but SBE did not make full financial disclosures.
- Soon after Mr. Glenford Ysaguirre agreed to the compliance letter, a new Governor of CBB was appointed, Governor Joy Grant. Governor Grant did not respond to my numerous inquiries or otherwise follow up about our financial disclosures. SBE never provided financial disclosures to CBB, and an email making this point is Attachment 4 hereto. Eventually, Andris Pukke told me that SBE would offer lot owners the option to make payments in the U.S. or Belize. Most of the lot owners chose to switch their payments back to the U.S. To my knowledge, the CBB took no further steps.
Excerpted from Laws of Belize, Exchange Control Regulations: Subject to such exemptions as maybe granted by order of the Central Bank, it shall not be lawful, except with permission granted by the Central Bank and in accordance with any conditions subject to which the permission was granted, for any person resident in any of the scheduled territories to transfer, by way of sale, exchange, gift or mortgage any land situate in Belize or any document of title thereto or conclude any transactions which form part of a series of transactions calculated to result in any such transfer, to a person resident in any country, the currency of which is a foreign currency, or to a person resident in any of the scheduled territories who shall be a subject or citizen of or a company incorporated in any country the currency of which is a foreign currency.
Choice Bank had its license revoked in the summer of 2018 because of markedly different reasons that the winding down type of liquidation Atlantic Bank International and their really International case that is infamously the largest international real estate case that the FTC has had to litigate and still litigating.
What is politically and financially scary is the way Choice Bank has been placed under liquidation after they withdrew the court case alleging an unfair revocation of their license—a la a boxer who did not expect the referee to stop the match. When a referee stops a match you expect a fair decision. You do not expect an overpriced liquidator to come in from a conflict-filled position. If someone is paid 50,000 dollars a month, let us do a poll in Belize, is he overpriced? If you are a depositor and you are being told NOT to expect your entire deposit back, or any money back at all, what would you do?
Well, Kareem Michaels, who left his job as Deputy Governor at Central Bank, is the liquidator at that salary that has at least one depositor crying foul
A purported depositor and Spaniard, Laura Deliso, had written a letter that is CC’d to basically the world of the UDP, contends that she is being maltreated by this liquidator. She of course want her money back and is not taking kindly to being shafted. The threats are of a class-action lawsuit that really has Belize financial system in her cross hairs. Mrs. Deliso is not necessarily the FTC but it is interesting to see if the PM will tangle with this European Citizen. She is native to Spain but we all know the European Union is one behemoth of a contender. If she really has them as a ‘backative’ then all bets are off.
The choice will be to continue liquidating assets or go into the best state of matter given the threats: freeze. Is Mrs. Laura bluffing or a fake? It is only right that the Right Honourable PM find out as quickly as possible for God’s sake. Belize needs to save face as urgently as when AIBL was clipped by the FTC.
Calls for resignations have always fallen on deaf ears? There is a certain honor that is required for a resignation move but even that is MIA.