By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
TWO Bahamian men arrested at an airport in Belize last week were granted bail yesterday. The men, Kelvin Leach and Rohn Knowles, were charged for allegedly failing to declare $20,000 on arrival at the Philip SW Goldson International Airport on Friday.
According to Che Chase, the Bahamian lawyer for Mr Knowles, attempts are being made to have the men returned to the Bahamas.
The Tribune understands that Mr Knowles’ mother travelled to Belize to see her son and is shaken by the ordeal.
The men, who were indicted by US federal prosecutors last week over an alleged $500 million securities fraud and money laundering scheme, were detained around noon last Friday while reportedly trying to leave Belize and fly to Cancun in a privately chartered plane.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement yesterday that said the ministry is providing the two men with the “usual diplomatic and consular services”.
“There has been considerable public interest in the reported arrest in Belize of two Bahamian citizens reportedly on September 12,” the statement said. “The inquiries have centred on the assistance of the Bahamas government to those citizens and the reported decision by a US judicial authority to indict the two Bahamians for various offences. The Bahamas is represented in Belize by Honorary Consul Jacqueline Marshallek.
“Mrs Marshallek is fully aware and engaged with the matter. The families of the individuals have been in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. All the usual diplomatic and consular services have been and will be provided for the individuals as the ministry would do for any Bahamian citizen.”
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 last week.
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 recently raided by authorities.
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 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.