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Turks and Caicos Islands judge delivers mixed verdict in high-profile government corruption case

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — An almost decade-long corruption case involving prime authorities officers and attorneys within the Turks and Caicos Islands ended Monday with a blended verdict for these accused of bribery, cash laundering and different expenses.

The case had sparked outraged throughout the archipelago, which got here beneath direct rule by the British authorities in 2009 after it discovered widespread corruption within the Caribbean British territory.

Chief Justice Mabel Agyemang discovered former Deputy Premier Floyd Corridor responsible of bribery and of concealing the proceeds of felony conduct. He was discovered not responsible of three counts of conspiracy to defraud.

His lawyer, Earl Witter, didn’t reply to messages for remark.

Agyemang additionally discovered lawyer Clayton Greene responsible of concealing the proceeds of felony conduct. His lawyer didn’t reply to a message for remark.

As well as, Agyemang discovered former authorities minister Jeffrey Corridor and lawyer Melbourne Wilson not responsible of conspiracy to defraud. Corridor’s lawyer, Ian Wilkinson, instructed The Related Press that his shopper is grateful for a “simply and true verdict.”

“He had maintained his innocence from the start and is comfortable to have been vindicated,” Wilkinson mentioned, including that Corridor would converse additional at a later date.

Wilson’s lawyer did reply to a message for remark.

The suspects had been arrested after the British authorities suspended the Turks and Caicos authorities in August 2009 and imposed direct rule following a fee of inquiry that discovered systemic corruption within the Caribbean British territory.

A lot of the corruption consisted of bribery by abroad builders and others to safe authorities land on “favorable phrases, coupled with authorities approval for its business growth,” in accordance with the fee’s report.

A 2009 interim report additionally discovered “clear indicators of political amorality and immaturity and of basic administrative incompetence.”

The fees in opposition to the accused had been first filed in 2011, with the prosecution requesting {that a} trial with out jury be held. It argued that the case was complicated, had acquired a whole lot of publicity and that it was unattainable to search out an neutral jury.

The decide acknowledged the complexity of the case, saying “it could current an onerous and, frankly fairly unattainable process for a jury to apprehend.”

“That is to say nothing of the (145-page) opening speech of the prosecution, which isn’t more likely to be remembered by the common juryman,” Agyemang wrote in a June 2021 ruling.

Floyd Corridor had been accused of accepting bribes from builders and of conspiring with former Premier Michael Misick of defrauding the Turks and Caicos Islands in offers involving government-owned land.

Misick was arrested in Brazil in December 2012 and later extradited to the Turks and Caicos Islands. He, together with different suspects together with former pure assets minister McAllister Hanchell, is going through expenses in the identical case, though they are going to be tried in a separate trial to be held in upcoming months.

Misick has beforehand denied wrongdoing.

Each instances have been repeatedly delayed for varied causes, together with the dying of a trial decide and the fainting of 1 protection lawyer whereas questioning his shopper in courtroom.

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