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Alleged ‘Ponzi scheme’ operators given option to refund investors as police probe GYD$31 million claims

by Samuel Sukhnandan

Even as the Guyana government said it would facilitate the reopening of bank accounts for the transfer of millions of dollars to repay people who said they have been scammed by a ponzi scheme, police said more people were coming forward to lodge complaints.

Crime Chief, Superintendent Wendell Blanhum said ‘several persons came in today and the investigators are interviewing them and taking statements from them.”

Mr. Blanhum said in addition to those who went to police, 47 others came forward concerning 54 transactions worth  more than GYD$31.5 million. He said the couple has been cooperating with investigators.

The company at the centre of an alleged Ponzi scheme in Guyana, Accelerated Capital Firm Inc (ACFI), has been given the option to reopen any of its closed bank accounts to facilitate the repayment of many Guyanese who have invested millions of dollars with them.

Attorney General Mr. Anil Nandlall has written attorney Mr. Glenn Hanoman who is representing the company’s principal, Yuri Garcia Dominguez, explaining that the reopening of his clients closed bank accounts could be facilitated at any of the commercial banks of his choice.

The company had made that request on Tuesday, when it issued a statement saying this is “in order to be able to transfer the funds from our bitcoin wallets into the bank.”

Mr. Nandlall said in the missive, “I have publicly committed that the State is prepared to do everything that is lawfully possible to facilitate the return to Guyana of the funds which your client claims are in disparate foreign jurisdiction.”

Garcia-Dominguez had told police investigators that the money collected from investors was abroad in accounts in the United States, Switzerland, Belize, Germany and Greece. But the Bank of Guyana, the Guyana Securities Council and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) have been unable to locate the money.

On Tuesday, the company called on the authorities to release both Ishmael and Garcia-Dominguez and drop all charges against them.

“We kindly ask to the authorities to release our directors that are currently in custody, so that the payments to our clients can be resumed successfully,” the company said in a statement, as it outlined other measures it wants compliance with, saying that in meeting them, those persons could be refunded,” the statement added.

But the attorney general said in the missive to Mr. Hanoman that although he does not exercise any influence over state agencies that issues bail, he said that releasing the suspects from custody is not an option since the Guyana Police Force considers them to be grave flight risks.

Mr. Nandall told the attorney also, “you are free to inform me of any other measures, excepting the release of your client from police custody during the investigations, which may assist in the return of the funds to the jurisdiction.”