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Guyana seeking US help with gold smuggling court cases

Last Updated on Monday, 4 January 2016, 15:40 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana has asked the United States for assistance to help convict a man for allegedly smuggling large quantities of  gold to New York.

Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo businessman, Christopher Baldeo is accused of smuggling almost US$69,142 worth of gold to the United States between February 6 and 7, 2015.

Currently on GYD$100,000 court bail, he is due to re-appear before Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan on January 8, 2016 for an ongoing trial into the alleged exportation of gold without a licence.

The last time he appeared in court, the police prosecutor asked the Court for yet another adjournment to allow for a request to be made to the US for the relevant certified and notarised documents to show that the gold was declared in New York. For overseas documents to be legally admissible in court another jurisdiction, they first must be notarized and certified in the country of origin.

Guyanese investigators are alleging that Baldeo, who is not a licensed gold exporter, did not declare the gold to Customs Officers before departing Guyana through the Cheddi Jagan International Airport February 6, 2015.

The Guyana Gold Board and Guyana Revenue Authority have already supplied evidence in court to prove their case that Baldeo allegedly smuggled three bars of the precious yellow metal to the US.

Baldeo is also on GYD$75,000 bail for a similar offence allegedly committed on March 12, 2015. Court documents state that he allegedly did not declare 29 ounces of gold valued at US$29,266.  Police said that on his return to Guyana via Trinidad on March 21, 2015, he was questioned by investigators at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and admitted to exporting gold without a licence.

Police said he had US$9,596 dollars in his possession which they regarded as the balance from the gold sale. The cash has been seized and a forfeiture order requested based on his admission

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January 2016