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Fox Eyes $100m Hotel After New York Go-Free

Adrian Fox

Adrian Fox

• Island Luck co-founder: ‘Weight off my shoulders’

• ‘Very remorseful’ over ‘dumb’ human trafficking

• Past decade ‘imprisonment’ with bank cut-off

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Island Luck’s co-founder yesterday said “a weight has been taken off my shoulders” after a federal New York judge allowed him to walk free rather than impose a minor jail sentence.

Adrian Fox, now back in The Bahamas, told Tribune Business he felt “very bad” and “very remorseful” over the role he played in a human trafficking scheme some 13 years ago but said the outcome of Friday’s hearing in the southern New York federal court confirmed his “second chance” in life.  

Revealing that he wanted to “clear my head” before focusing on possible business opportunities, he added that the immediate focus will be the philanthropic and charitable activities carried out through his Fox Foundation and other avenues.

Nevertheless, Mr Fox disclosed ambitions to enter the hotel business via a potential $100m investment at the former Cable Beach Manor site he has acquired next to Sandals Royal Bahamian on Cable Beach. While plans for the project are still being drawn up, he added that he was looking at a European-style boutique hotel that could employ up to 300 Bahamians.

And, with the 11-year US pursuit now ended, the Island Luck co-founder voiced optimism that commercial banks would be willing to work with him once again and allow him to open accounts, as he likened the last decade to “imprisonment” that stifled numerous commercial ventures he wanted to launch.

“It’s a second chance. I’m very grateful. It worked in my favour,” Mr Fox said of Friday’s hearing, where Judge Denise Cote sentenced him to “time served”, a $5,000 penalty and one year of supervised release after he formally pled guilty to “to aiding and abetting the grossly negligent operation of a vessel” in relation to a human trafficking scheme.

The US federal authorities had sought a term of up to six months’ imprisonment for Mr Fox, but Judge Cote decided against this on the basis that he withdrew from the scheme voluntarily before being caught and had since committed himself to charitable activity that had bettered many lives in The Bahamas.

The Island Luck co-founder, though, yesterday voiced his regret at becoming involved in human smuggling, describing it as “a dumb decision that should never have been made” and urging young Bahamians to “stay true to who you are” and not be lured down the same path he was.

“I feel like when you are young you do crazy things, dumb things that kind of hurt you for the rest of your life,” he told Tribune Business. “I’ve been suffering for the last ten to 11 years, and now feel like a weight has been taken off my shoulders....

“I feel very bad for what I did. I feel very remorseful for what I did. I told the judge that. I was very ignorant and very dumb. What I’ve learned is that sometimes you make mistakes in life but you cannot let them keep you down. You can always change. You don’t have to live the life and keep doing the things you do.”

Despite avoiding jail, Mr Fox said his personal and business life had suffered the consequences of having US federal charges hanging over him for more than a decade.

“For the last ten years it’s been like imprisonment,” he said. “Everybody looks at you differently. I can’t do business. I can’t do business with no bank. It handicapped me so much, and I wanted to do more.

“The banking industry, once they kick you out, you cannot move. I hope now that this is over, I hope they’ll open their place of business for me so I can have accounts and do business with me.”

Some observers, especially those opposed to web shop gaming, may disagree with Mr Fox’s assessment given that Island Luck’s profits soared since the time he ended his involvement with human trafficking, and he has still been able to engage in other profitable ventured at the same time.

Web shop gaming is a divisive issue in Bahamian society, with significant segments both for and against it, but there is little doubt that Mr Fox’s philanthropic and charitable activities have impacted hundreds of lives in depressed communities on New Providence or elsewhere.

Asked whether he now plans to pursue fresh business opportunities, Mr Fox replied: “I have to just relax a bit, clear my head..... I’m getting tired of business right now. I will put Adrianna [daughter] in charge of business. I need to clear my head. It’s been a long time. I feel very good and happy about the outcome. I never want to go through this again.”

Still, Mr Fox indicated that the pause may only be temporary. “I want to build a hotel on Cable Beach,” he told Tribune Business. “I have some property over there, and want to get some Bahamians employed.

“The plans are being drawn up now, so maybe in 12 months I will start and try to get some things going. We’re looking at investing $100m in the hotel and will have 300 Bahamians employed. We need to get more Bahamians involved in the hotel industry.”

In the meantime, Mr Fox said his “mission” will be to help The Bahamas become “a better place”, with a focus on keeping “young men on track”. Noting that many young Bahamian men lack young “father figures” and role models in their lives, he added: “We cannot put young men in prison any more, and treat them like animals.

“That’s no way to reform. We have to teach them how to better themselves, become better people in life and part of society.” Mr Fox confirmed that an expatriate UK neighbour in Ocean Club Estates, Nick Maughan, had spoken to him about bringing a UK charity the latter is involved with, BoxWise.UK, to The Bahamas to aid troubled youth.

BoxWise, according to its website, is a non-profit that focused on improving health and self-confidence among young persons in a disciplined environment that has boxing as a core activity designed to provide a structure for these efforts.

Mr Fox, meanwhile, said he was focused on cleaning up his home community of Kemp Road and other inner city areas in a bid to rid them of derelict cars and other waste. And he added that he has already spoken to the area’s MP, Wayne Munroe, about creating a community centre for Kemp Road where children without Internet access - due to power outages or other disadvantages - will be able to learn and do homework.

Tribune Business triggered a political firestorm two weeks ago when it revealed that the Prime Minister and two of his Cabinet ministers, just over a month before they were elected to office, had written character testimonies on Mr Fox’s behalf to Judge Cote to support his bid for a lighter sentence.

The opposition Free National Movement (FNM), fresh from losing the general election, immediately blasted Philip Davis’ support for Mr Fox as “astonishing and reprehensible”. However, Mr Fox yesterday reiterated his disappointment with the FNM’s position, adding that he has previously donated to all parties.

“I was kind of disappointed that the FNM took that stance when they know they’ve taken money from me as well, not only in this election but the last election,” he added. “I don’t roll with any party. I’m a nationalist. I want to sake this country grow for our sakes and everybody else’s. It’s time for us to stop thinking as PLPs and FNMs, and do what’s best for our country and children.”

Comments

Sickened 3 months ago

Lol!!" The banking industry, once they kick you out, you cannot move. I hope now that this is over, I hope they’ll open their place of business for me so I can have accounts and do business with me.”

But yet he's worth $100's of millions and is doing a $100mio hotel project (probably in cash). I haven't heard a peep about the Proceeds of Crime being confiscated. Of which these criminal proceeds were used to build a criminal gaming empire which just recently went legit. In my opinion all of his current wealth should be been stripped away!

CRIME PAYS!!!! That's the lesson here.

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tribanon 3 months ago

Sebas Bastian has been fronting for Adrian Fox for quite sometime now, and the likes of Dirk Simmons and several corrupt former government financial regulators have been assisting Bastian and Fox with the disguising and hiding of the more sensitive illegal business activities that their criminal enterprises are engaged in.

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bahamianson 3 months ago

100 million dollar investment for cable beach? What the hey is going on. The numbers guys did not want to pay taxes , and now this guy wants to invest 100 million!!!!! I did say 100 million.

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sheeprunner12 3 months ago

Legacy of Brave's government ..... Les we forget

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GodSpeed 3 months ago

$100 Million wow, gambling addicts made these guys the richest people in the Bahamas.

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pablojay 3 months ago

$100 million investment ,wow ! He had so much money that the banks wouldn't take it and people who have so little money are trying by the thousands to get enough so that something can be left over to put in a bank and he takes the little that they had from them daily.Just to think that Brave brags that Fox was instrumental in bringing the numbers business from underground, shows the kind of PM that we now have.

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DonAnthony 3 months ago

He must have done a lot of singing for such a lenient sentence.

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tribanon 3 months ago

The previous owners of the former Cable Beach Manor property, the Anders Wiberg family, must have been really hard up for money for them to have sold their property to two such well known criminal thugs like Sebas Bastian and Adrian Fox. Oh well, as the saying goes: "Doing business with the devil always comes at a most dear price."

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g9822033 3 months ago

It's most unfortunate that our people can't see past the veneer of these 'do gooders' that now want to become philanthropic with their ill gotten gains.

And furthermore the politicians that were complicit in legalizing the numbers houses instead of shutting them down and having a national lottery are just as bad.

At least a national lottery would provide the treasury with more revenue and help fund cash starved but essential projects (e.g. hospital expansion).

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BahamasForBahamians 3 months ago

tribanon, do you have the same compassionate rhetoric vitriol for your UBP/FNM counterparts whose wealth have amassed from similar illicit activity?

Or even for your colonial masters whose power comes on the backs of black slavery ?

This is in no defense for The Bahamian version of them (Sebas and Fox), but I rarely hear you sing this loud in opposition of others whose background makes these 2 gentleman look like Jesus' disciples. It makes one question your motive.

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tribanon 3 months ago

Now don't get me going on those two Symonette brothers. And by the way, some would say I'm a shade or two darker than Adrian Fox. LOL

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Emilio26 3 months ago

It seems to me like you're jealous of Mr. Fox and Mr. Bastian

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birdiestrachan 3 months ago

He who is without sin let he cast the first stone.

I wish the man well.

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Sickened 3 months ago

LOL. You are such a special person! Your mind will be analyzed by aliens - after you help them take over earth.

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killemwitdakno 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Wdf are you buying a gat dang hotel. There's more money in providing local needs.

One example “There is no boat that goes between Nassau and Freeport that can carry frozen freight. There was one that would carry our product on the deck, telling us it is such a short distance that it wouldn’t matter. But we wouldn’t put our product on that. I wouldn’t send chickens out like that.”

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