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Businessman charged with 32 money laundering offences
A 54-year-old businessman from Westmoorings, accused of fraudulently renting out two barges owned by the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA), has been granted $2 m bail.
Chris Ramsawak, of Schooner Court, Westmoorings, was granted the bail by Magistrate Kerri Honore-Narine after appearing before her in the Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court yesterday, slapped with 32 money laundering charges over the $8.6 million in rental charges he allegedly collected between October 2015 and April, this year.
Ramsawak was also charged with two offences of obtaining $6,132,105 and US$362,500 through false pretences from the oilfield servicing company that rented the barges.
Ramsawak, the owner of Chris Distribution Limited based in Chaguaramas, was not called upon to plead to the charges.
In applying for bail for Ramsawak, his attorney Wendell Williams claimed that the father of five had a clean criminal record.
However, police prosecutors claimed that he had a pending drunk driving case from 2015. Although Williams claimed that the charge was dismissed, prosecutors were told to report back on the issue on the next hearing on July 20.
Police prosecutors also asked Honore-Narine to impose conditions on Ramsawak’s bail as they suggested he was a flight risk because he owned property in the United States.
Ramsawak was arrested by Fraud Squad detectives at the Piarco International Airport, shortly after he returned to Trinidad from a trip to Miami last Sunday.
Williams denied the allegations as he pointed out that Ramsawak was in the US when he heard of the allegations and chose to return home voluntarily.
Honore-Narine agreed as she ordered Ramsawak to surrender his passport and to refrain from applying for a new one while his case is pending. She also ordered that he report to his nearest police station four times a week.
Honore-Narine placed him on two $1 million bail bonds as some of the offences are alleged to have occurred in Port-of-Spain with the others allegedly being committed in San Fernando.
The investigation was led by Senior Supt Totaram Dookhie, ASP Kent Ghisyawan, Sgt Cornelius Samuel, PC Keston Williams and legal officer Vinel Bassarath.
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