Turks and Caicos

Former Turks and Caicos leader extradited from Brazil under U.S. escort, spends first night in prison

 
 

Former Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick triumphantly returned home Tuesday after being extradited from Brazil, under U.S. custody, to face criminal charges. Misick’s was forced to spend his first night in jail after being unable to meet bail.
Former Turks and Caicos Premier Michael Misick triumphantly returned home Tuesday after being extradited from Brazil, under U.S. custody, to face criminal charges. Misick’s was forced to spend his first night in jail after being unable to meet bail.
Courtesy of Radio Turks and Caicos

jcharles@MiamiHerald.com

Michael Misick — the Turks and Caicos‘ former premier known for his high-flying lifestyle and lavish parties — returned to his island paradise Tuesday and spent his first night back at home in jail.

Misick arrived in the country’s capital of Grand Turk shortly before noon aboard a U.S. government aircraft after being extradited from Brazil.

A judge had initially rejected bail after officially charging him with conspiracy to bribe. His request was later accepted on appeal by the Turks and Caicos Supreme Court.

Neil Smith, a spokesman for British-appointed Gov. Peter Beckingham, said the bail amount had not been made public. But because Misick “was unable to meet the bail conditions this evening, he has been remanded in custody in Her Majesty's Prison in Grand Turk.”

Misick’s arrival came a day after 10 other individuals, including four of his former government ministers, pleaded not guilty to an array of corruption-related charges. British prosecutors are seeking to put all of them, including Misick, on trial beginning July 7. Misick has long maintained his innocence.

On Monday, another of the accused, developer Richard Michael Padgett, who plead guilty to bribery and conspiracy, will be sentenced.

Misick arrived wearing a navy blazer, jeans, and white shirt. He was not handcuffed as he descended from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security aircraft, clear evidence of the U.S. involvement in the British-led corruption probe.

Nicole Navas, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the agency’s Homeland Security Investigations unit and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine assisted in the transportation “at the request of the governments of the United Kingdom and Brazil.”

According to Twitter reports, Misick kissed the ground after arriving. He later smiled and put his hands in the air after leaving the courtroom, where islanders greeted him with a hero’s welcome. Elsewhere in the island chain, located 575 miles southeast of Miami, others made welcome-home placards and T-shirts.

The $11-million-a-year investigation began in 2010 after retired British Judge Sir Robert Auld concluded during an inquiry there was “a high probability of systematic corruption and/or other serious dishonesty” in the Turks and Caicos. Auld criticized the high-flying lifestyles of Misick, who gained fame in U.S. circles after his marriage to actress LisaRaye McCoy. McCoy was among those who was called to testify during the inquiry.

The British had suspended the constitution and fired the government. Power was returned in 2011 with Misick’s former political party winning the majority of the seats.

The country’s current premier, Dr. Rufus Ewing, welcomed Misick’s return “to the home that he loves, and to his family and friends, who have all been praying for his safe return.”

“I trust that through the will of God, fairness and justice will prevail and the rule of law will be executed in a manner that is fair, respectful, and transparent as it upholds his basic human rights,” Ewing said.

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