Turks and Caicos

US helps Turks and Caicos recoup millions from Sandals Resort

 

In a deal that the U.S. helped craft, luxury tourism brand Sandals Resort International agrees to pay $12 million to Turks and Caicos government.

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

The involvement of U.S. law enforcement officials in an ongoing probe into government corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands has helped that government recoup $12 million from one of the Caribbean’s most well-known luxury resort companies — Sandals Resort.

The company, which is run by Jamaican businessman Gordon “Butch” Stewart and carries the Beaches Resort & Spa brand, reached the agreement with the Turks and Caicos government and British special prosecutors probing corruption allegations in the tiny island chain.

A statement issued Wednesday on behalf of the Special Investigation Prosecution Team (SIPT) said the payout was the result of the “extraordinary and unique” involvement of U.S. authorities who voluntarily released evidence.

It also noted that the agreement involves no admission of liability and does not prevent the prosecution of any Sandals officials in relation to the ongoing criminal probe. The U.S. is among several jurisdictions that have provided investigators with help.

No other details were provided. A former senior Sandals employee has been linked to transactions involving former Turks and Caicos officials , currently under investigation, and in 2011, Sandals lawyer Dimitri Singh was quoted in the press as saying the company was voluntarily cooperating with the probe. The company’s spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

So far, 13 people, including developers and former Turks and Caicos government ministers, have been indicted on corruption-related charges. Earlier this month, British officials said they were starting extradition proceedings for the island’s former premier, Michael Misick, from Brazil where he was arrested in December on an international arrest warrant.

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