TWO Bahamian men were arrested on Friday at an airport in Belize three days after they were indicted by US federal prosecutors over an alleged $500 million securities fraud and money laundering scheme, according to a Belize news report.
The US is seeking to extradite the men over the allegations.
According to 7News, Belize, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, both described as Bahamian citizens, were detained around noon on Friday as they reportedly tried to leave Belize and fly to Cancun.
The news station reported that the men were trying to board a privately chartered plane before they were arrested. The men were trying to return to the Bahamas, the station reported.
When contacted yesterday on the matter, Foreign Affairs Minister Fred Mitchell said due to privacy laws, he could not comment. He said he may be in a better position to speak on the matter today.
On Thursday, Tribune Business reported that US authorities want to extradite the two men, after charging them with helping to facilitate an alleged $500 million securities fraud and money laundering scheme.
Mr Leach and Mr Knowles were named among six defendants in an indictment unsealed by US federal prosecutors in the eastern New York district courts on Tuesday.
The two, both financial services professionals, are understood to be the principals of a Belize-based broker/dealer, Titan International Securities, which was among six corporate entities also listed as defendants by the US government.
According to 7News Belize, the company was raided by authorities last week.
The US indictment alleges that Mr Knowles told an undercover US federal agent he could “orchestrate” fraudulent securities trades and did this “all the time”.
Other allegations contained in the indictment include claims that US undercover agents were first introduced to Mr Leach and Mr Knowles, and their Belize-based broker, Titan International Securities, by employees at a Bahamas-based broker/dealer.
The lawsuit claimed that an unnamed employee at the now-defunct Gibraltar Global Securities “directed” law enforcement agents to Titan, and provided contact details for Mr Leach.