The Chairperson of the United Progressive Party (UPP), D. Gisele Isaac, is dismayed that Antigua and Barbuda is being implicated, again, in another massive financial scandal.
This most recent scandal came to light some two weeks ago, after FTX Holdings – a cryptocurrency company incorporated in Antigua – filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming $10-50 billion in liabilities, in the United States.
It was subsequently discovered that the entity had used depositors’ money to fund other business ventures, including buying naming rights to the FTX Arena in Miami.
What is worrisome, Isaac says, is that this scandal is being described as “huge,” with at least US$30 billion being lost by depositors.
One of FTX’s directors is an Antiguan attorney-at-law, Ambassador Arthur Thomas. Thomas was also chairman of the government-owned Caribbean Union Bank (CUB), from which he has resigned, and chair of the Eastern Caribbean Securities and Exchange Commission (ECSEC).
Given his position on the Exchange Commission, Isaac says the current situation is being likened to the R. Allen Stanford Ponzi Scheme in which another regulator, Leroy King, was found to be complicit.
She says the Browne Administration continues to neglect the well-being of the people while focusing only on family, friends and some cronies.
The UPP Chairman is wondering how FTX was able to register in Antigua and Barbuda in spite of allegations of flaws in the incorporation process.
Meanwhile, Isaac says she is flabbergasted that someone could “lose” over US$30 billion, and she wonders where it went, what it was spent on, and who were the beneficiaries.
She notes that there is already an issue with the liquidity of a local offshore bank, with the Prime Minister admitting that a depositor’s funds are tied up in “national development.”
Accordingly, Isaac is calling on the Government to come out and address the scandal and stop downplaying Antigua and Barbuda’s involvement in the matter.
Thomas replaced Brian Stuart-Young as Chairman of the Caribbean Union Bank only recently. Stuart-Young stepped down shortly after a lawsuit revealed that depositors were unable to withdraw money from their accounts at the Global Bank of Commerce, of which he is the Chief Executive Officer.
Reports are that the US Justice Department’s FBI and the US Securities and Exchange Commission are conducting investigations into the FTX matter. In that regard, sources tell REAL News that a number of overseas defense lawyers are already on island and in talks with Cabinet members.