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British Developer Pleads Guilty in Turks and Caicos Islands Corruption Case

British developer pleads guilty in Turks and Caicos corruption case
Published on June 3, 2013

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands — British developer Richard Padgett pleaded guilty in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on Friday to charges of bribery and conspiracy to pervert the course of public justice by agreeing to present false or forged documents to a Commission of Inquiry.

At a plea and directions hearing on April 15, Mr Justice Harrison agreed that Padgett should be allowed to enter his pleas at the first reasonable opportunity. His case was adjourned to May 31, this being the next most convenient date for the judge to return to the TCI.

Padgett is currently suffering from ill health and in the opinion of his doctor is not fit to travel to the TCI, it was therefore agreed by the court that his pleas be entered from England, by a video link to the Supreme Court.

Padgett and the Crown were represented in both jurisdictions by counsel.

After his pleas of guilty were entered, the case was adjourned to September16 for mention as to the appropriate date of sentence.

Padgett, who has been on bail throughout the proceedings, remains on bail.

The TCI government also announced on Friday that it has settled all civil claims and proceedings against Padgett and his companies. That includes civil claims arising from the Third Turtle Development referred to in the report of the Commission of Inquiry, and a separate civil claim arising in relation to Crown land on East Caicos acquired by a company controlled by Padgett.

Under the settlement, Padgett has transferred to the government land valued at approximately US$7 million, and has made a cash contribution of $75,000 to the costs of investigating the claims.

This takes total land recoveries made by the civil recovery team to 3,058 acres, in addition to $19.6 million in cash paid or to be paid to the government.

Attorney General Huw Shepheard commented: “We are pleased that these disputes have now been settled with the transfer to TCIG of a substantial amount of further land of significant value. This settlement brings to a successful conclusion the civil claims brought in relation to the major developments referred to in the report of the Commission of Inquiry. As reported, other claims and investigations continue to be progressed by the Edwards Wildman civil recovery team.”

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SPECIAL PROSECUTOR HELEN GARLICK ISSUES UPDATE ON CORRUPTION CASE IN TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS

HELEN GARLICK ISSUES UPDATE ON SIPT CASES

“The Plea and Directions Hearing in this case has been adjourned to September 16th. I have made it clear that I will not comment on the evidence in this case or on any other issue that is for the court of trial to decide, except that where it is right to do so, I will correct mis statements made in public by other people and will also provide as much information as I can about the proceedings.

“There are currently 10 defendants awaiting trial before the Supreme Court. In May 2012 all of them were sent for trial on all charges by Justice Ramsey Hale. Before a trial date can be fixed there are several preliminary matters that need to be decided by the trial Judge in Plea and Directions Hearings. The prosecution have been ready to conduct a Hearing since July 2012 and all the necessary evidence and written submissions have been served on the accused.

“The reason for the continued delay is that the majority of the accused have applied for and been granted legal aid but have rejected the rates fixed by the Registrar and challenged that decision by applying for Judicial Review. The SIPT had no involvement in the Legal Aid decision, this was a matter between the accused and the Registrar. However, we have been joined to the Judicial Review proceedings as an interested party. The application for judicial review was rejected after a hearing before on 8th November 2012. An appeal was also rejected unanimously by the Court of Appeal on 24th January 2013.

“The accused concerned are now applying for leave to appeal to the Privy Council. That application has not yet been made. If they are refused permission to appeal by the Court of Appeal, they have the right to renew their application directly to the Privy Council and it could therefore be some months before this matter is resolved finally.

“The accused have the right to exhaust all legal avenues of appeal but there should be no misunderstanding that however long it may take, the law must take its course and there will be a trial.

“As to the position of Michael Misick, his claim for political asylum is being dealt with in accordance with Brazilian law and the SIPT and the AG are not parties to that process. The request for his extradition could not be dealt with until the asylum claim was decided. The claim had been refused at first instance but he had lodged an appeal to the Minister for Justice. On Monday 15th April the Minister refused his appeal. I am advised that the extradition process can therefore begin. However there should also be no misunderstanding first that, however long it may take, if Michael Misick is returned to the TCI, he will stand trial and second that in the meantime the trial of his co accused will continue.”

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PNP UNITED ON FORMER PREMIER’S MICHAEL MISICK TALKING POINTS

PNP united on former premier’s talking points
Published on March 28, 2013 ,TCI News Now.

The Progressive National Party (PNP) is apparently now unified behind specific “talking points” that are being spoken to by the party and its supporters and are seemingly being orchestrated by its former leader Michael Misick.

The principal point being made was the primary platform of the PNP during their 2012 general election campaign and that is the issue of independence and preparing the TCI to separate itself from Britain.

This was addressed in each and every letter received from Misick and was spoken to by Premier Rufus Ewing on his return from last month’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government meeting in Haiti. In Ewing’s view, all the Caribbean nations, including those who are currently one of the 14 British overseas territories, must not only achieve independence but must also form republics and not be associated with the Commonwealth of Nations.

The second talking point spoken to by Misick and Ewing is the forthcoming prosecutions of former PNP cabinet ministers and others. Both Misick and Ewing have said that the prosecutions are a farce. Misick said this is because he claims that laws were changed and he personally cannot receive a fair trial and will fight returning home until that is resolved, while at the same time proclaiming his willingness to return to the TCI by private plane instead of waiting for his extradition from Brazil to be completed.

Ewing has not explained why he feels the imminent trials are a “farce”, as he called them in a recent letter to Britain’s Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds.

The third talking point that is being spoken to widely by PNP members and supporters is their view of the overstepping of authority by Britain. This is being described by Ewing as an abuse of power and corruption on the part of William Hague, Britain’s Foreign Secretary. The tone of this talking point echoes similar comments made by Misick in each and every letter he has written.

One of the principal points aired by Ewing was the looming imposition of value added tax (VAT). On this issue, both political parties and the business community were united in asking for VAT to be abandoned.

Both Hague and Simmonds responded to Ewing’s speech to CARICOM heads by accusing him of failing to address the reasons why VAT and other measures were necessary.

In particular, Ewing failed to explain that the TCI is bankrupt and became bankrupt due to the actions of the PNP administration from late 2003 through August 2009, when Britain imposed direct rule.

Further, Hague said that Ewing not only failed to speak to this problem that brought British direct rule but also ignored the consolidated loan of $260 million guaranteed by Britain and the support of numerous British advisers who, in three years of direct rule, have been able to raise government revenue and cut expenses to a break-even position.

Britain imposed certain milestones that had to be achieved before direct rule could be withdrawn and an elected government returned. However, the final milestone yet to be reached was the pay down of the loan, which must be refinanced by 2016 when the British guarantee is lifted. Britain requires the TCI government to submit an acceptable financial plan, which has not yet been achieved by the PNP government in its almost five months in power.

Hague pointed out in a letter to Ewing that there needs to be not only additional taxes but further cuts in spending. Ewing and finance minister Washington Misick and several other PNP ministers have seemingly turned their backs on this requirement and are promising the territory new infrastructure, more government jobs and a growing public sector.

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CARICOM expressed Grave Concern about Turks and Caicos Islands Affairs

by Hayden Boyce – Publisher & Editor-in-Chief,
Published in Sun TCI on 20th of February 2013

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has expressed “grave concern” about the state of political affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

In fact, the regional leaders are taking matters in this country so seriously that they intend to raise concerns indentified by Premier Dr. Rufus Ewing with representatives of the British Government.

In a communiqué issued at the conclusion of the 24th Inter-sessional Heads of Government meeting held in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, the Caribbean leaders stated: “The Conference noted with grave concern that, though the elections of November 2012 had led to the restoration of representative government, the overall state of political affairs remained less than desirable and the restoration of true democracy was still a far way off. The 2011 constitution, conceived in London and thrust upon the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands when they were without representation, was viewed as a mere by-law for the continuance of direct rule under the pretext of representative democracy.”

The CARICOM report added: “Of additional concern were the challenges emanating from the workings of the justice system in relation to the criminal investigations that followed the commission of enquiry, and what was portrayed as “constant infractions of democratic principles and insults to the ideals of elected government”.

The Conference noted the reaffirmation of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s commitment to the Caribbean Community as well as the expressed appreciation for the pronouncements of the Community on the situation in TCI. It was decided to continue to keep the situation under close review and to raise concerns with representatives of the British Government.”

The communiqué said that the conference “received with interest” the address made by the Premier of the Turks and Caicos Islands, Dr. Rufus Ewing.

It was the first meeting of the Community at which the Turks and Caicos Islands had been officially represented by a democratically elected Government since the suspension of its constitution in August 2009, and a three-year period of direct rule by the United Kingdom Government.

In his maiden speech to a CARICOM Heads of Government meeting on Tuesday, Premier Ewing called on CARICOM (Caribbean Community), to advocate on the international stage for the full restoration of the institutions of true democracy in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

He also asked regional leaders to “support our (Turks and Caicos Islands) cries for removal of the spectre of colonial influences of the past, as we fight for our rights on our journey towards true self governance and self determination”.

Dr. Ewing’s said then: “The current state of affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands has the potential to throw our Country into chaos. For so long as I am the leader and principal spokesman of the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands, I will use every means available to me to ensure that does not happen.”

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Press Statement from Advocates Legal Group in Turks and Caicos Islands

Published in TCI Post on 01st of February

Advocates Legal Group – Press Statement Re: Intimidation and Threats by the Attorney General Chambers

ADVOCATES LEGAL GROUP
MEMBERS: Mark A Fulford, Noel T Skippings, Arthur Hamilton, Ashwood Forbes, Courtenay Barnett
PRESS RELEASE
RE: INTIMIDATION & THREATS TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH
MADE BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CHAMBERS
As Lawyers, we feel compelled to respond to the Attorney General`s public statement, as we find it to be very high handed, vexatious and wreaks of intimidation of the highest order.
Our country`s constitution guarantee us the freedom of expression, and unless the AG Chambers changes that law too, Part 1, Section 1 of the Constitution still applied to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
It is not acceptable that the Attorney General should cause to be published a threat of 10 years imprisonment when the press published and freely expresses factually based concerns about the manifest flaws and shortcomings in the justice system under the present dispensation.
It is indeed a compromise of the Constitutional enshrinement and protection of the fundamental right of “freedom of expression”. The AG’s threat to imprison by invoking the antiquated concept of contempt by way of “scandalising the court” fails to recognize the following:-
A. Contempt by way of scandalising the court was used years ago in England as a means of silencing legitimate criticism of Judges and others in authority. It is no longer used in England, and since parity by way of “gay rights” has been strenuously advanced by HMG in the TCI, the lawyers group is duty bound to insist that obsolete laws not be used in this manner to silence those who make legitimate criticism of a manifestly flawed justice system.
B. If the individual or individuals named in any article feel that they have been defamed, then sue the published on the article for defamation and do not threaten either lawyers or the press which should not be so intimidated because a Registrar, or Chief Justice or any Judge feels aggrieved for having read what was published in the press.
B. The high office of Attorney General should be, with respect, more concerned about:
Compromises in the system of justice,
Selective prosecution,
the impasse between Governor and Government over VAT,
The use of prosecutorial powers to pressure confessions and settlements,
Rather than be it implied or expressed be seem as silencing legitimate criticisms of a flawed justice system.
END
31 January 2013

Posted by john Glasgow on Feb 1 2013.

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Press Statement from Michael Misick in Prison Brazil

Press Statement from Michael Misick in Response to the AG Statement
Published in TCI POST on 01st February

I have read with amazement the comments of the Attorney General Huw Sheppard as to why I cannot return home voluntarily.
Firstly, I nor my legal representatives have ever given any previous assurance of my return nor was I ever ask to show up at any police station at any given time to answer any questions.
Sometime during 2011 my legal representatives received a letter from Helen Garlick saying that she would be inviting me to return for questions. My lawyer responded by asking for full disclosure and subjects of the questions so that I could be prepared to answer them. My lawyer never received full disclosure or the subject matter of the questions.
The next time I heard anything from SIPT or Helen Garlick was in February 2012 when they issued an Interpol Red Alert for my arrest. By that time, because of my belief that I could not get a fair trial and that me and my colleagues are being prosecuted for our political beliefs I had already applied for political asylum in Brazil. Once the Red Alert was issued, I was stuck in Brazil and could not travel home freely. There was no window of opportunity given to me to voluntarily show up.
I am a political prisoner having been arrested illegally at the request of the Attorney General Huw Shepheard and the British Government and documents they filed in the Brazilian Supreme Court requesting my detention and extradition to the Turks and Caicos Islands. For that reason, the only way that I can be released from prison is if the AG and the British Government withdraw the prison order and agree to my voluntary return. My stay in jail is not up to the Brazilian authorities as the AG asserted but it is up to the TCI Attorney General Huw Shepheard, Special Prosecutor Helen Garlick and the British Government.
In spite of still holding the belief that I cannot get a fair trial, I and my lawyers have offered for me to voluntarily return home in exchange for the AG and the British Government withdrawing my prison order. I was arrested on December 7th 2012. Today is Janurary 27th 2013. If the AG and others were truly interested in me coming home to face justice why for almost 60 days they had not made the official request for my extradition or accepted my offer to voluntarily return home?
It is obvious that the delay is about revenge and my continued political prosecution, they want to punish me by keeping me locked down in a maximum security prison in Brazil for as long as they can. Reality is that I have applied for political asylum in Brazil and there is a Red Alert out for me so how am I a flight risk? Why would I abandon my asylum application and leave Brazil? In fact I cannot do anything without the AG and Helen Garlick agreement to lift the Red Alert.
By these facts I again call on the AG and Helen Garlick, if they are truly interested in fairness and justice, to allow me to come home voluntarily so that I can answer questions and begin to prepare my defense since they have already decided that I will be charged even before asking me the first question.
It makes no sense to waste more of the TCI tax payers time and money on a long and drawn-out extradition process. The AG knows that extradition is a process and that the process must be followed wether I consent to be extradited or not. I have publicly declared my willingness to come home voluntarily, I am interested in justice. I am interested in coming home to clear my name.
The Ag and others can facilitate my speedy return so I can face their justice or they can continue to make excuses and continue their prosecution of me and punishing me without a trial by leaving me in jail in Brazil because they are upset that I did not return home a year ago. This is revenge, not justice. The choice is theirs not the Brazilian authorities.
I could be home to face whatever charges they choose to place on me in 24 to 48 hours of the AG and the British Government agreeing to my voluntary return.
There is recent president for this in England where at least one high profile prisoner did agree to voluntarily return there to face charges after being away for many years. My situation is no different from theirs.
It is highly unusual for a person that is a country’s most wanted to want to voluntarily return and the authorities of that country refusing to accept him or to expedite his return.
Something is wrong with this picture. It is up to you Mr. Attorney General.
Michael Misick
Former Premiere of the Turks and Caicos Islands
From Prison
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
27-01-2013

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Open Letter From Former Premier of Turks and Caicos Michael Misick

Open Letter From Michael Misick Former Premier Of the TCI To Helen Garlick

Michael Misick
Rio de Janero

Helen Garlick
SIPT
Providenciales
Turks and Caicos Islands
RE: Open Letter Regarding my voluntary return to my country Turks and Caicos Islands
Dear Ms Garlick
I am disappointed by your response to my verbal request and written request to voluntarily return home to answer question or any future charges that you may levy against me. I am determined to clear my name in relation to the allegations made by you towards me.
In response to my request to voluntarily return home directly on a charter flight, paid for by my family, your excuse is that I may change my mind between the prison and the airport and refuse to board the plane or (during) my stop-over in the British Virgin Islands I may decide to stay there.
This is the lamest excuse I have ever heard a law enforcement professional use to someone who is on the Interpol Red Alert and wanted in a jurisdiction for question and want to voluntarily surrender.
I must remind you that I am a 47 year old man (who) has spent 20 distinguished years in politics and dedicated service to my country Turks and Caicos Islands. In addition to having the honor of being the country’s first premiere, I have served in many different capacities as Minister (of Government) over the past 20 years. It is known that I did not at any time abscond or run away from the Turks and Caicos Islands or any charges. The fact is that I was away from home almost two (2) years when the arrest warrant was issued for me. It is also a known fact that because of the changes in the constitution, like removing the right to persons accused to a trial by jury, changes to various laws of evidence including the hearsay view, I am of the firm view it was and is not possible to get a fair trial for me and my colleagues.
It is a known fact that I while in office along with my colleagues advocate independence from Britain for our country Turks and Caicos Islands and it is my belief that this entire investigation, charges and pending charges is politically motivated and that we are being prosecuted because of our political views. As a result of the above position, it was also a known fact that I had applied for political asylum in a third country because of the political prosecution stated above and the violation of my human rights.
I have decided that in spite of my firm belief that I cannot get a fair trial, nor can my colleagues, and in spite of my political prosecution because of our belief that the Turks and Caicos should be independent and Turks and Caicos Islanders should be running every aspect of government, to voluntarily return home.
As a former Premiere and a leader in my country, I have not made that decision lightly. Therefore I could (not) and never will change my mind enroot to Turks and Caicos Islands. I therefore pledge to you and most importantly to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands (that) if you withdraw the prison order and lift the Red Alert so that I can travel, my family will provide a plane for my return home, Officers from the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police force and/or Interpol can also accompany me on that direct flight to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
My word is my honor and at this stage all I have left is my word.
I (have) already spent six (6) weeks in prison in Brazil with no effort on your part, (no effort) on Turks and Caicos Government part, and (no effort) on the British part to have my safe return. If you are serious about even the appearance of Justice and not revenge and prosecution I ask that you in good faith re-consider your decision to reject my voluntary return. I again state that there is no need for a long and expensive process of extradition as I am willing to return voluntarily within 24 to 48 hrs of your agreement to have me return voluntarily.
The power is in your hands to do what is right and decent.
My trust as always is in my God.
Michael Misick
Former Premiere
of Turks and Caicos Islands
from Prison in Rio de Janero
BRAZIL

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Hoffman Settlement $ 7 M.

 

CORRUPTION-accused developer Mario Hoffmann has contributed a massive $7m to the government’s civil recovery costs.

The Slovak businessman, who maintains his innocence, agreed to make the payment in an out of court settlement this July in order to avoid facing trial.

He also agreed to surrender his Belongership and hand back 1,506 acres of Salt Cay land to TCIG.

In 2009 the Commission of Inquiry revealed that the government sold Crown land to Mr Hoffmann for a suspiciously low price.

Commissioner Sir Robin Auld claimed that there was “information of possibly corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest involvement including misfeasance in public office” relating to the former Premier’s dealings with the developer.

Mr Hoffmann battled for a number of years to have the allegations retracted but lost his case.

In a recent press release he said that he was happy to put the matter behind him.

“We have at all times maintained our innocence with respect to all allegations of misconduct and corruption made against us and determined that it was most convenient and expedient to enter into the settlement rather than continue on with the disputes in relation to Salt Cay,” he said.

Neither Mr Hoffmann nor the Development Companies admitted any wrongdoing or civil or criminal liability when entering into the settlement.

Attorney General, Huw Shepheard said: “We are pleased that these disputes have now been settled, and in consequence that the position of Salt Cay is now secured with the transfer of all the respective lands on Salt Cay to the government.”

All 1,506 acres of Salt Cay land have been transferred to the government and registered at the Land Registry.

Total cash recovered by TCIG in respect of civil recovery claims amounts to $7.5m and a further $11.5m has either been agreed to be paid or has been ordered to be paid.

Some 2,500 acres of land have been recovered for the people of the TCI to date.

TCIG obtained judgment last year against the Star Platinum companies controlled by Cem Kinay, who planned to develop Joe Grant Cay, and has now received all 813 acres of Joe Grant Cay.

TCIG’s claim against Third Turtle developers Richard Padgett and Oceanpoint Development
Ltd is continuing with a trial expected to take place in January 2013.

A claim for stamp duty evasion, in relation to Emerald Cay, resulted in a judgment of approximately $9.5m being awarded in favour of TCIG earlier this year.

Proceedings are also continuing in a number of other cases, including for the ‘flipping’ of land.Share on em

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OLYMPICS INVITATION TURNS POLITICAL

 

Published on July 30, 201 in TCI WEEKLY NEWS  

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Progressive National Party (PNP) leader Dr Rufus Ewing (L) and Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) leader Oswald Skippings


A change in the positions of the two TCI political parties vis a vis Britain is being seen as the fallout from an invitation issued to the two party leaders to attend the summer Olympics in London. The invitation was also scheduled to include meetings with British Department of State and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials.

The leaders of the Progressive National Party (PNP), who have been advocating their position of taking the TCI independent of Britain, have now welcomed the offer of an all expenses paid trip to attend the world event. 

However, PNP leader Dr Rufus Ewing is not taking his deputy leader, attorney Carlos Simons QC, with him, deciding instead to be accompanied by Royal Robinson, a former member of the Misick-led PNP government.

The Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), led by Oswald Skippings, decided to decline the invitation to attend the Olympics.

In a television interview, Skippings said that he did not receive the itinerary on time to make the decision to attend. He was scheduled to be accompanied by his deputy and former member of the Consultative Forum, Sharlene Cartwright Robinson. 

However, Governor Ric Todd has denied that the PDM was issued the travel itinerary late and released a summary of the correspondence between the Governor’s Office and the PDM officials. Nevertheless, the PDM maintains this is not true. During the Skippings interview, the party leader said that he did not feel the meetings with British officials would be productive because they would be distracted by the Olympic events.

After taking over as PDM leader recently, Skippings was asked if he agreed with Britain’s suspension of the constitution and of the elected government. Skippings responded, “We had no choice and if we had to make that decision again, we would do the same thing.” 

It was former leader of the PDM, Floyd Seymour, who sent evidence of widespread corruption to Britain’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) in late 2007. This evidence, used by the FAC, forced the FCO to call a Commission of Inquiry, which resulted in the imposition of direct rule by Britain in August 2009. 

After Seymour stepped aside and returned to private life, new PDM leader Douglas Parnell led several missions to London, where they met with FCO officials, members of the House of Commons and House of Lords, officials of the Westminster Foundation, as well as other persons and entities interested in the TCI and regional issues. Parnell has now followed Seymour into private life, not contending for any party position at the June convention in Grand Turk. 

Former PDM leader and former Chief Minister Derek Taylor, who lost to Skippings at last month’s convention, reported he was working with members of the interim government.

Two days before leaving for London, PNP leader Ewing said he was looking forward to meeting with the British officials. “Even if we agree to disagree this will be productive,” he said.

The PDM, under none of their leaders, has ever favoured independence and has expressed disappointment that the special investigation and prosecution team (SIPT) has not moved swiftly enough. The party has, however, favoured earlier elections and a return to democratic rather than direct rule.

Supporters of both parties now report disagreements with their respective leader’s positions on the London trip.

 

 

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Criminal Case against MARIO HOFFMAN Dropped with a CONFIDENTIAL SETTLEMENT

 

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AG drops all cases against Mario Hoffman
By Hayden Boyce – Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), through Attorney General Huw Shepheard, has reached a “confidential settlement” with Russian billionaire and Salt Cay developer Mario Hoffman, who was once at the centre of corruption allegations following the Sir Robin Auld Commission of Inquiry.
A press release from the Attorney General said that after several years of claims and counterclaims, they have settled all current claims and proceedings between his office and Hoffman.
Shepheard stated: “The terms of the settlement are confidential, but the parties have agreed to make public all significant terms. Mr Hoffmann and the Development Companies have transferred all the lands on Salt Cay which they own or lease to TCIG, totaling some 1,506 acres; Mr Hoffmann and the Development Companies have made a contribution to TCIG’s costs; Mr Hoffmann has surrendered his Belongership and neither Mr Hoffmann nor the Development Companies admitted any wrongdoing or civil or criminal liability when entering into the settlement.”
Shepheard added: “We are pleased that these disputes have now been settled, and in consequence that the position of Salt Cay is now secured with the transfer of all the respective lands on Salt Cay to the Government. The Government will be undertaking a broad consultation as to the future of Salt Cay.”
Hoffmann, a wealthy Slovakian businessman, is, indirectly, the owner of over 90% of Postova Banka, a regulated Slovakian retail bank, and is the Chairman of its supervisory board of directors.
Since 1997 he has been a frequent visitor to TCI, having built a house here and spending 2 to 3 months here every year. Since 2000 he has been pursuing a project to develop the island of Salt Cay through a company called DEVCO. To that end he has steadily acquired land on this island from the Government of TCI. Another Slovakian bank, J & T Banka, is a partner in this project. An important part of the project is the creation of a golf course.
The TCI Government, under the leadership of its premier, the Hon Michael Misick, granted to DEVCO the land on which the golf course was to be built, on a 99 year lease at a “peppercorn” rent. In August 2006 Salt Cay Golf Club was incorporated as the company that would own and run the golf club. 50% of the shares in this company were held by Mr Hoffmann’s Cyprus based holding company.
The other 50% were given to a holding company of which Mr Chal Misick, a brother of the Premier, was the owner. In the following year, 2007, the Hon Michael Misick successfully applied to J & T Banka for a loan, made to himself and his then wife LisaRaye McCoy, of US$ 6 million. Mr Chal Misick provided, and J & T Banka accepted, his 50% shareholding in Salt Cay Golf Club as security for this loan.
Former Premier Misick, who is wanted for questioning by the SIPT, is presently living in political asylum in an unknown country. It is unclear if, as a result of the settlement with Hoffman, the allegations against Misick and his brother Chal, will still stand.

Last week, the AG also dropped criminal corruption charges against billionaire developer Jak Civre, who was charged by the Helen Garlick-led Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) with bribery in connection with the construction of the Seven Stars project. Those charges were dropped, purportedly because of his health and age, but after Civre paid close to US$5million to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government as part of a civil recovery settlement.

Meantime, the Government press release quoted Hoffmann as saying: “We have at all times maintained our innocence with respect to all allegations of misconduct and corruption made against us and determined that it was most convenient and expedient to enter into the settlement rather than continue on with the disputes in relation to Salt Cay. We are pleased to put these disputes behind us. We have maintained our innocence at all times and continue to think that our project for Salt Cay was a good one for the people of Salt Cay and the Turks and Caicos Islands. After litigating these issues for several years, in light of all mutual claims we felt it best to settle these disputes now and move forward with our other businesses. We thank the people of Salt Cay for their trust and confidence in us.”
In his final report, Commissioner of Inquiry Sir Robin stated: “There is, in my view, information and evidence before the Commission suggestive of the involvement of the Hon Michael Misick in corrupt dealings in relation to the Government’s transactions with Mario Hoffmann on behalf of DEVCO and of Chal Misick’s knowing assistance and complicity in it. Whatever the value and worth of the Salt Cay development as a whole, the Commission is unable to accept the account of Mr Hoffmann in relation to the appointment of Mr Chal Misick as a partner in the project.”
Sir Robin Auld also wrote: “I find that there is information of possibly corrupt and/or otherwise seriously dishonest involvement, including misfeasance in public office, of the Hon Michael Misick in relation to the Government’s transactions with Mario Hoffmann of DEVCO for the development of Salt Cay:
1) in respect of his participation in that development with Chal Misick’s knowing assistance and complicity in it, as described above;
2) in the potential abuse of his public office by accepting lavish and disproportionate hospitality from Mario Hoffmann, including the use of private aircraft, the provision of international flights and other hospitality in the course of developing business relations between DEVCO and the Government;
and 3) in potential abuse of his public office by seeking and accepting a loan of $6 million from J&T Banka when that Bank, on its own account, was in negotiation with the Government over funding and participation in the development of Salt Cay. I, therefore, recommend criminal investigation by the police or others of the possibility of corruption and/or other serious dishonesty, including misfeasance in public office, in relation to the Hon Michael Misick in respect of those matters.”
* Posted on July 17, 2012

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