A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist says that the international bribery scandal which again threw Antigua and Barbuda into the spotlight may have serious implications of the country’s banking sector.
Kem Warner, while speaking during an interview on Sunday said that once there is any element of an alleged corruption within a country, its financial sector tends to suffer.
He said that it is even more serious in light of the De-risking issue being faced in corresponding banking.
“Once there is any instance of an alleged corruption, bribery or scandal in any jurisdiction, it will have tremendous effect on us especially as we know in the whole aspect of our corresponding banking and that in itself will create tremendous problems in the financial sector and also for the business sector, ” he said.
He also noted that trading will become more difficult for Antigua and Barbuda.
“It also has impact when it comes to international trade and tourism and will also have negative implication which will have a domino effect on any country and the region as well,” the specialist said.
And as it relates to country’s reputation and what the Prime Minister has to do in order to clear the name of Antigua and Barbuda Raul Mitchell, financial management consultant who has over 20 years experience assisting indigenous banks in the Caribbean with risk management had this to say.
“For himself and for the region, he needs to be as clear and precise as possible in terms of laying the facts out on the table, showing everything he did or did not do and be very clear in terms of what his responsibility was in the entire series of transaction. A bad reputation is something Antigua and Barbuda is trying to come out from especially in light of the Sandals and the Stanford fiasco which transpired recently,” he said.
In December the New York Times broke the story that Odebrecht pleaded guilty in the US District Court in the Eastern District of New York to violating anti-bribery provisions of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by conducting bribes in the US.
According to official court files, one of the acts to which Odebrecht pleaded guilty was an alleged bribery of a consular official from Antigua and an intermediary to a high-level government official in Antigua arranged during a meeting in Miami, Florida, in or about mid 2015.
Following the news Prime Minister Gaston Browne while speaking during the Governments year end press conference revealed that Honorary Counsel Luis Franka has been fired and warned that if Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Casroy James cannot clear his name, if involved in the scandal, then he too will be fired.