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Sandals Resorts International to Pay $12 Million as Part of Turks and Caicos Corruption Probe

Michael Misick Sandals Resorts.jpgIt has been widely reported that Sandals Resorts International has agreed to pay the Turks and Caicos government $12 million to resolve an investigation into bribery and money laundering. Sandals Resorts operates the Beaches Resort in the Caribbean island nation and has recently purchased the former Veranda resort property.

Turks and Cacios is self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom located approximately 600 miles from Miami, Florida. In 2008, the British Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee received several reports of high level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos. Their report charged that country’s Premier Michael Misick (pictured on the left), “to have built up a multi-million dollar fortune since he was elected in 2003 when he declared assets of only $50,000,” enriched himself and fellow ministers “by selling off Crown land to fund current investment.” Widespread government corruption in the Turks and Cacios led to the United Kingdom to impose direct rule in 2009 but returned island nation to democratic government at the next general election. Wanted on corruption charges Mr. Misick fled the Turks and Cacios but was arrested by Brazilian police in 2012 at a Rio de Janeiro airport.

A Special Investigation Prosecution Team (SIPT) was organized to look into a transfer of $1.65 million from Sandals Resorts related bank accounts to the Turks and Cacios’ Progressive National Party and Mr. Misick. Details of Sandals Resorts’ involvement were not disclosed, but according to Associated Press, Sandals Resorts’ general counsel Dimitri Singh said a former senior company officer was linked to “various unauthorized transactions” and said the Jamaica-based resort company was voluntarily cooperating with international authorities probing former islands officials. The SIPT said the settlement agreement involves no admission of liability by Sandals Resorts or its founder and chairman Gordon “Butch” Stewart.