By George Alleyne
A cabinet minister in the former Barbados government, Donville Inniss, has been given until June 24 next year to defend himself against charges related to money laundering
Inniss, who held the pivotal government posts of minister of International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development until that administration lost elections in June this year turned up in a Brooklyn, New York federal court Tuesday where both prosecution and defence told the judge that negotiations for a plea deal had stalled and were unlikely to move forward.
Prosecutor Assistant US Attorney, Sylvia Shweder, wanted to proceed with the trial within a week but defence attorney, Garnett Sullivan, requested an extended date contending that the large volume of documents the government presented in case required time to study and that witnesses had to be from Barbados in Inniss’ defence.
Inniss was in August arrested in Florida and charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of money laundering.
Placed on $50,000 he was brought to New York for a further federal court hearing when he was made to deposit his passport with federal authorities and had an electronic monitoring bracelet placed on his ankle.
The US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York stated, “the charges stem from Inniss’ acceptance of bribes from a Barbadian insurance company in 2015 and 2016 when he was a public official.”
He is alleged to have conspired with persons in a Barbados company, Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd. (ICBL), to pay him $36,000 to use his authority to ensure that the firm’s million-dollar contract with a state-owned company under his ministerial portfolio is renewed.
The US Attorney’s Office alleges that he conspired to hide the payment by having the money sent to a New York dental company, then into his bank account through a number of transfers.
The Barbados Nation newspaper Wednesday reported that following the hearing in court, or ‘status conference,’ the defence attorney Sullivan said, “the customary preliminary plea bargain negotiations in cases of this nature went nowhere because we don’t plan to negotiate a plea. The negotiations are part of the process. That was all to it.”
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