Mariano Browne Accused Of Fraud By Caribbean Commercial Bank Ltd. and RBTT Bank

mariano_browne.jpg

Has Extensive Connections With Barbados Government and Elites

Trinidad & Tobago’s new Minister in the Ministry of Finance has been accused of fraud by his former Barbados-based employer.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Express (link here), a civil lawsuit filed in Supreme Court in Barbados in 2004 says Mariano Browne “breached his fiduciary duty” by doing all kinds of nefarious activities including…

– Making unathorised payments to himself and others.

– Purchasing an unauthorised car for a “senior staffer” Cheryll Drakes using the bank’s funds. Apparently Browne liked Ms. Drakes a lot!

– Paying unauthorised and undocumented “bonuses” to himself and other staff.

– Removing and destroying a laptop computer with the bank’s business records on it. (Gotta get rid of that evidence, ya know!)

– Activities euphemistically called “accounting irregularities”.

Browne and his lawyer Alair Shepherd say its all a big misunderstanding. They say that Browne was hard done by during some business dealings with the bank.

Other companies and persons are mentioned in the lawsuit including…

– MB Investments Inc (Mariano Browne’s company)
– Bank owner at the time CLICO
– CL Financial
– Andre Monteil
– Bank of Butterfield
– PriceWaterhouseCoopers (a Canadian accounting firm)
– Fraudulent payments to law firm of Clarke, Gittens & Farmer
– Central Bank of Barbados
– Barbados Coast Guard relocation project
– New Barbados Judicial Center
– Government of Barbados, which provided a “letter of comfort” to Browne during some of the suspected fraudulent business dealings.

chief-justice-david-simmons-ccj.jpg

Lawsuit Was Hidden By The Barbados Court – Did Chief Justice Simmons Know?

Even though the public is only now learning of the lawsuit against Browne, we learned today that this lawsuit was actually filed in the Supreme Court of Barbados in 2004.

How is it that such a major lawsuit involving government projects and major financial institutions, businesses and law firms could remain secret for three years?

This would have taken the knowledge and co-operation of the Barbados Judicial system.

Dear readers, we at BFP are not lawyers, so maybe we’re wrong here – but it seems to us that keeping this lawsuit secret from the public and shareholders would have taken the participation and direction at the highest levels of government and the courts. Did Chief Justice Sir David Simmons know of this? If yes, what does that say about our courts? If he didn’t know about it, what else is going on in the Barbados courts that is secret?

We don’t expect any answers from Simmons and the government – for the Chief Justice and the Government are two arms of the same body.

Reprint of Trinidad & Tobago Express Article on next page…

From the Trinidad & Tobago Express (link here)

CLOUD OVER NEW MINISTER

Bank sues Mariano Browne for embezzlement
Special investigation by Camini Marajh cmarajh@trinidadexpress.com

Sunday, November 25th 2007

Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s new Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Mariano Browne has been accused of financial impropriety and corporate misbehaviour by his former employer, the Bridgetown-based Caribbean Commercial Bank Ltd (CCB), now RBTT Bank Barbados Ltd.

A civil lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court in Barbados in July 2004 by CCB’s new owner, RBTT Bank and its previous-owner, CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd, claims that Browne, the former president and CEO of CCB, breached his fiduciary duty and the bank’s rules and procedures by, among other things:

– Making unauthorised travel payments to himself and other senior management staff
– Paying bonuses and interim bonuses to senior management staff including himself in an ad hoc and irregular manner without adequate documentation and/or Board approval and failing to make the necessary tax deductions
– Purchasing a 2003 four-door Honda CR-V for Bar$101,400.75 for senior staffer Cheryll Drakes which exceeded the approved limit by Bar$36,400.75
– Removing and destroying a company lap-top computer hard drive and
– Committing accounting irregularities related to a Bar$39.5 million bond issue which caused financial harm to the bank. The two corporate giants are seeking some Bar$8 million in damages.

Reached in Barbados on Friday, Browne denied all of the allegations contained in the court papers filed against him and his company, MB Investments Inc and deferred comment to his lawyer Alair Shepherd. In Browne’s defence, Shepherd held that his client “did no more or no less than previous heads of the bank” and that Browne was in fact following “the procedure adopted by previous managers” when he approved bonus payments.

Shepherd said when Browne went to CCB in January 2002, the bank had: “No cash, was making losses, had a poor loan portfolio and owed the Central Bank of Barbados money.”

He told a story of a loss-making CCB coming to profit under the management of Browne, who, he said, has “always felt hard-done by, in circumstances where he had taken the bank from a loss-making position to a position where CLICO, its shareholder, was in a position where it could make a substantial profit on sale.”

According to Shepherd, relations between Browne and his former employer soured after CLICO allegedly reneged on a lock down agreement to sell its shareholding in CCB to a Brown-engineered management buy -out.

But the CLICO and RBTT court pleadings denied claims of an agreement to a management buy out and, instead, accused Browne of claiming a travel allowance of Bar$9,767.19 for personal travel to Bermuda in October 2003 for the specific purpose of facilitating the sale of CCB to the Bank of Butterfield, Browne’s employer up until a week ago.

Shepherd said he was “not at liberty” to reveal the identities of the persons who made up the consortium for the management buy-out put together by Browne on a question of whether Butterfield was a financer to the deal.

Court papers said that Browne made a private trip to Bermuda without the knowledge and or approval of the board. Shepherd confirmed that his client sought an injunction against CLICO to prevent that company from finalising a deal with RBTT but in the end things turned on the construction and interpretation of a CL Financial/Andre Monteil agreement letter.

The prevailing view in Barbados, according to Shepherd, was that the Monteil agreement was not enforceable since CCB was a wholly-owned CLICO Holdings Barbados subsidiary and the requisite board approval had not been obtained.

The former CLICO-owned bank, then in negotiations with RBTT, terminated Browne’s contract in January 2004 and gave him a Bar$800,000 payout. But in court filings, following a forensic audit by a Canadian team of accountants from the firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, RBTT/ CLICO is demanding repayment of the Bar$800,000 which they contend was paid “in error pursuant to the contract for services as a result of breaches of contract.”

The forensic report allegedly found that Browne overstated commissions on financial transactions and engaged in accounting irregularities. According to the court documents, Browne authorised the processing of bonds issued by the bank in the amount of Bar$39,583,179.70 in connection with a Coast Guard relocation project without the investment receiving the requisite Central Bank approval in accordance with the Financial Institutions Act.

The lawsuit claims that he proceeded to issue zero-coupon certificates of interest in the bonds without the related trust deed and other documents required to facilitate project financing. There were also claims that the investment company had not been properly established.

In Browne’s defence, Shepherd said while the lawsuit referred to a lack of government guarantee, his client had a letter of comfort from the Barbados government. He countered that “a certain amount of urgency” was imposed upon the bank by the Government of Barbados. And while he conceded that: “Monies were, accounting-wise dealt with and paid without tidying up of full documents,” the same thing was done with the judicial centre and there was no howl of protest.

The court papers, however, contend that Browne was responsible for the sale of certificates, purportedly issued by the bank, in a security which did not exist. There were claims that his negligence caused “actual economic damage to the Bank.”

The lawsuit also held him responsible for entries (in the financial records) purporting to be arranger’s fees and commissions earned on the certificates.

The lawsuit contend that Browne and his company in fact received year-end bonuses from overstated commissions. The court documents said that the issue of zero coupon bonds without proper or lawful authorisation made the bank liable to interest payments to investors on bonds amounting to some Bar$1.8 million and legal fees of Bar$101,964.18 to the law firm of Clarke, Gittens & Farmer.

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76 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Business, Business & Banking, Crime & Law, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption

76 responses to “Mariano Browne Accused Of Fraud By Caribbean Commercial Bank Ltd. and RBTT Bank

  1. Hants

    BFP…..as far as I know,there is no requirement for the courts of Barbados to publish all matters before the court in daily newspapers and on Radio and TV.

    There is more.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161240954

  2. Hants

    BFP…..there must be some report in “2004 archives” somewhere.
    I tried googling but found nothing.

    This story must have been in one of our daily newapapers in 2004.

    If this guy was appointed chairman of EGF by the government after he was charged then this is very serious stuff.

    However this is Barbados so there will probably 7 days of talk and it will be forgotten like Veco,3S,cost overruns………

  3. BFP

    Hi Hants,

    No, there is no requirement that all such matters be published before the courts, but there must have been an agreement between all parties AND the courts that this lawsuit would remain “secret”.

    This is an extremely important lawsuit that would have come to the attention of the public and media had it not been hidden. It is outrageous to think that any member of the public who became aware of this would not realize its importance. Therefore we can safely assume that it has been hidden all these years.

    We all know how files disappear and reappear in our court system.

    Look at what is involved in this lawsuit since 2004… the Barbados Government is involved, the new Justice Building, the Coast Guard move, major bank dealings that would have impacted share values of at least one public company…

    This case would have had significant political impact upon the government since 2004 had it been known by the public.

    Once again, we see how what is supposed to be a public and open process in our courts has been subverted by the government and lawyers to suit the agenda of the government. Anything to avoid embarrassment to the government!

    Anything at all is possible in our corrupt and closed judicial system!

  4. more

    The case WAS in the news.
    Something about a company called M4 or something so.
    Anybody remember?

  5. Anonymous

    r.a.s.s.h.o.l.e

    BFP

    c.u.n.t.h.o.l.e.s.

    KILL

    THAT

    WH1TE

    B1TCH

    LOVER1DGE!!!!

  6. iisnoone

    Can someone contact Mr. Browne’s lawyer to make a statement tailored for the Barbadian public?

    How did we find out about this case?

    Sir David, are there any more cases that we should know about?

  7. iisnoone

    Somebody get upset!

  8. Anonymous

    Good work BFP. The article in the nation newspaper referring to this was pathetic.

  9. Hants

    BFP…..it would be useful to find out if this case was reported by the mainstream media in Barbados in 2004.

    This is very serious especially when “moving the Coast Guard station” involved the Government of Barbados.

    Also how could a case this big be kept secret.I have a feeling it was published in the mainstream media in 2004 before BFP was running.

    I am sure if it was raised on Brasstacks the moderators would say it is before the courts and can’t be discussed.
    That is also the excuse the Nation and Advocate will use.

    Fortunately we now have BFP.

    Tomorrows newspapers in Barbados will probably report the story from Trinidad Express.

  10. more

    Seem to remember a Nation article some time ago saying that David Shorey was removed as Chairman of CCB.
    When was that again?
    Hope the Nation will give us a real story this time even if it has to use the Trinidad Express to get it.

  11. Adrian Loveridge

    The Trinidad Express article refers to ‘his (Mariano Browne’s) company, MB Investments Inc’.

    Two companies are registered at the CAIPO office called
    MB & GB Holdings Ltd. # 27937
    registered 2006-11-20

    and
    MB Asset Management Inc. # 27437
    registered 2006 – 08 -09

    Of course its possible that MB Investments Inc, could be registered offshore.

    Who are the Directors and shareholders.
    Is this another Government owned company, like Hardwood Housing Factory Inc?

    I think someone should pay the $5 for a search at the CAIPO and that we should all know the answers.

  12. Hants

    MB….EGF….Hardwood Housing…..Mascoll.

    Since Mariano Browne is only accused and not convicted of anything, I guess the BLP and Mascoll are in the clear.

    See BFP there is no corruption in Barbados. Lots of unfounded accusations “just beyond your imagination”.

  13. Undertaker

    I also clearly remember CCB not making any “real” money before Mr. Browne took up the realm, so to me this seems more of a case of sour grapes than anything else. I remember that his leaving CCB was not the best parting and that he did mention that they (clico) had promised that the bank would be sold to him and his other backers. I always thought he was a pleasant person and very creative. He brought back the back to where it is today, and he also began to make some changes for Butterfield. I do believe that Mr. Patrick Manning make a great choice of Minister of Finance. Maybe I am wrong but it seems that all this is to ruin his reputation above anything else.

  14. more

    Just was on keltruthblog.com More information available
    Alert reader freedom press gives links.

  15. more

    BFP, the court case was not hidden just not reported on.
    The details were on the internet all along.

    *******************

    BFP Comments

    Where abouts, more? Where can we find it? We’ve been looking with no luck. We do see a civil suit but zero details about the fraud allegations or the association with government projects. We also understand that Mr. Shorey was involved with Mr. Browne under a number of circumstances. Funny how names come up again and again in Barbados!

  16. more

    What became of this Nation story dated 10 Jan 2004? Can’t seem to find it.

    Barbados’ Caribbean Commercial Bank chairman David Shorey and CEO Mariano Browne fired – Barbados Nation

    Links from the keltruthblog.com site

    http://www.lawcourts.gov.bb/Lawlibrary/events.asp?id=412

    http://www.lawcourts.gov.bb/Lawlibrary/events.asp?id=422

  17. more

    Barbados’ Caribbean Commercial Bank chairman David Shorey and CEO Mariano Browne fired – Barbados Nation

    Check 10 January 2004 on this link

    http://www.caribbeannews.com/previous_Jan_2004.html

    Barbados Nation, why was the story link removed? Please put the link back up so we can read the story.

  18. Observing

    Undertaker, no one is disputing Browne’s business accumen, skills or clear contribution to the turnaround of the companies he’s been involved in. What’s critical here, is that success, power, position not be used for illicit means at the possible expense of a government, taxpayers or shareholders. Do ya thing and do it well, but doing it right and with integrity is just as important.

    And by the way, even if only half of these charges are true, this is a serious endictment on a “major” government player who’s been involved in the financing of government projects. Wonder what both the Trinidad and Barbadian cabinet have to say about this.

    A wise man once said, in public office it only takes the illusion of impropriety…far less the actual action. Clearly our government could care less about what its people think.

  19. normal business practices

    More

    it is very interesting what you say

    my recollection is that when $4oo,ooo was supposedly put up as a deposit cheque from the Classic Investments Ltd ( Cox ) in 1998 or so, the cheque came from the CCB when Shorye was the Chairman. At that time the company was a shell and Cox has since declared that he has a net worth under $1,000,000.

    I don’t know if the lawyers ever presented proof of the deposit to the courts, as a bare minimum, of proving a bona fide offer in the Kingsland matter but considering it was only a deposit and years before any purchase, it would be interesting to see what security was pledged to the bank in the course of normal business practice and what the side deals were?

  20. more

    normal business practices, are you suggesting there is a link to the Kingsland matter here?

    Apparently Shorey and Browne were fired as Chairman and CEO of CCB respectively around 10 January 2004, so the Nation newspaper reported. The story seems to be unavailable now though.

  21. Sargeant

    The Express and Nation have the same corporate ownership, how come such an extensive report was published in the Express but not in the Nation? Seems like someone local don’t want to step on powerful toes

  22. frankology

    Just getting my bearing right. Was the alleged fraud committed during the Clico or RBTT ownership? We must be focused on the dollars before we begin the finger-pointing. I can see a connection with both political parties mix-up in the free hand-outs. Mark my word. Keep 2005 the trump card.

  23. normal business practices

    more

    no legitimate bank that I am aware of would lend $400,000 to a shell company with a principal who has a net worth under
    a million dollars.

    If you read the keltruth site carefully it indicates that Shorey along with Cox was holding out planning approvals from the PM even though those approvals already existed from the cabinet order in 1993. Maybe they were going to get full and immediate cooperation from the bureaucracy instead of years of delay? We all know these instant approvals have ocurred before.

    No legitimate bank , that I am aware of ,would have issued a $400,000 check without substantial security backing it up or unless there was some other consideration or agreements in place that we are unaware of.

    This is not an issue of poor little black guy versus the white establishment. After all most of the corporate white crooks in the USA from Enron, Tyco on down are now in jail.

    One can’t keep piling whipping cream and subtrefuge on a pile of s–t and get away with it forever. Its still a stinking oppressive pile of s–t no matter how much the lawyers, judges and insiders waltz around it.

  24. There can only be one Mariano Brown, an excellent squash player, fleet of foot, who started as a high flier with Republic Bank back in the 80’s, and who was until the day before yesterday CEO of Butterfield Bank here in Barbados. Now his new elevation to lofty office in Trinidad.

    Anyone with his buccaneering dash and panache can be expected to leave a wide wake behind him. He has to all appearances kept moving so fast that his past could not keep up with him. Quite thrilling!

  25. Hants

    Welcome to the age of the Internet.

    Story published in Trinidad is picked up and published same day by BFP. Good job BFP.

    I wonder if the mainstream media in Barbados will print this story tomorrow and will there be any Editorial comment to follow.

    The last few years of BLP rule would make for a great Austin “Tom” Clarke novel.

  26. Leviticus

    BFP, this was published on back page of Sunday Sun in 2004.

  27. Leviticus

    I suspect there will be more to this. Court records indicate that David Thompson is the Attorney for both Clico and RBTT. Interesting.

  28. Sargeant

    Just wondering… who or what was the source of that infamous cheque?

  29. Leviticus

    Thats it!

    Thompy deliivered a bouncer and Owen is still ducking!

    It now all falls into place.

  30. Rumplestilskin

    So, we allegedly have quite a few Trini collaborations?

    Firstly, with this alleged political/ business connection, between Barbados Government/ businessman/ Trinidad Government, which is in itself interesting.

    We also have the business collaboration, i.e. allegedly, Sir Charles and Mouttet in both TGI Fridays and the expected new mall in Warrens.

    Quite a friendly bunch are we not.

    Yet we cannot seem to get a fishing agreement signed and happily moving along.

  31. Adrian Loveridge

    Big and BOLD…

    ‘RBTT sues Browne’
    Nation Monday 26th November 2007

    I just wonder if the BFP and BU had not leaked the story, whether it would have ever appeared locally in the press.

    The questions remain, WHY is it that a civil action taken in July 2004 has not yet been resolved and WHY was David Shorey fired at Chairman of Caribbean Commercial Bank?

  32. notesfromthemargin

    The story WAS reported, the suit is civil and not criminal. The suit was common knowlege in business circles in Barbados and was never a “Secret Lawsuit” as alleged here.

    It would seem that this is a storm in a teacup.

    **********

    BFP Comments

    Apparently it was reported so well that the Prime Minister of Trinidad was totally unaware of it! Such nonsense, Marginal. The details of the fraud and the allegations were never reported by the Barbados media prior to our story. Nothing about the connections with government projects or the government issuing a “letter of comfort”. Nothing about the “accounting irregularities”. The front page of the Nation today proves that they had never covered the story. Read it.

    Or… perhaps you can find it and we’ll say we’re wrong!

  33. M4

    notesfromthemargin

    It would appear that Browne’s new employer did not know about the suit either. Must only have been “common knowledge in business circles in Barbados” as we can see from the Trinidad Express article today.

    Where can we find the details of the suit?

    This is no “storm in a teacup”.

  34. fromtheotherside

    notesinthemargin is correct. The Trinidad Express is reporting the story because of the political situation down there. People must ask themselves when did the indesgressions occur which have been listed in the law suit. We submit that this matter hit the fan when Browne sued CLICO when they refused to sell him the bank based on a prior ‘gentleman’s agreement.

    If BFP can get Leroy Parris to tell the truth all would be explained but that will NEVER happen because Parris hates Browne guts with a passion and he controls Duprey who is his boss. Barbadians need to wake-up and understand the power plays in Barbados. No wonder the Trinis running rings ring we bout hey.

  35. M4

    fromtheotherside

    How would you suggest Barbadians wake up when they have such limited access to information?

    “People must ask themselves when did the indesgressions occur which have been listed in the law suit”.

    What indesgressions? What lawsuit? Where are the details?

    You obviously have information which “people ” do not have.

    Barbadians contiue to be placed in a disadvantaged position by those in power for very obvious reasons.

    I agree with you on this one i.e. “No wonder the Trinis running rings ring we bout hey”.
    Bajans continue to be kept in the dark and fed sh**.

  36. frankology

    We are going to see and hear real fireworks with this CCB/RBTT/Trinidad connection.

    We are asking simple questions of something that took place in 2004 and now being made public. The two owners are from Trinidad, confidential files will be with them, what I am surprised about, is the civil lawsuit being lodged within our jurisdiction, yet no one knew about it.

    This is a financial power game playing out on a Barbadian playing fee. We are just the spectators.

  37. frankology

    This is a financial power game playing out on a Barbadian playing field. We are just the spectators.

  38. M4

    frankology

    “financial power game” s generally hurt small people who always end up paying dearly for them.

    This one will be no exception.

    Whose money are they using?

  39. Hants

    Anything that involves the Government and law courts is extremely serious.

    It is even more serious now that Browne is the Finance minister of a country that has huge investments in Barbados and is a major trading partner.

  40. Velzo

    If BFP had investigated this matter when I raise it on this site a few months ago no one would now be saying that it was a secret. David Shorey, Mariano Browne, Zone One to Zone Two, GEMS, Coast Guard, Hall of Justice project etc. Check it out.

    Cheques to Owen and the BLP. Remember what David Thompson said in Speighstown.

    *******************

    BFP Comments,

    Without further information from you Velzo (which was never forthcoming) we had nothing to check out.

    How did you know about it, friend?

  41. Knowing Mariano’s mental and physical agility, I am confident that he will emerge unscathed.

    It is highly unlikely Bank of Butterfield, an old and reputable bank would have taken him on as their Numero Uno here without him giving his side of the brouhaha with his previous employers to BofB’s satisfaction.

    The fact that he received a golden handshake of B$800,000 when leaving CCB would indicate that he was initially in good standing with them, and that they turned the tables on him after they fell out.

    Similarly I am sure Mariano has given his version of the affair to Manning, and Manning has accepted it. There are no flies on Mariano. Flies move too slow.

    *************

    BFP Comments

    The fact that the Prime Minister of Trinidad knew nothing about the fraud allegations is HUGE.

  42. BFP- How are you so sure Manning did not know? Even if it stated so in The Express, or even if Manning himself made such a denial, it could well not be the case.

    Anyone is Mariano’s position would have the good sens to mention such a cloud hanging over his head before accepting a ministerial appointment. It may prove to be politically expedient for Manning to say he never knew, but you are speculating as to the actual facts, just as I am.

  43. frankology

    I can see a problem that is being overlooked. Can you remember in 2005 during the Panday fracas, the offices of Clico and the Chairman’s home were searched. Can you also remember another Clico executive was charge along with Panday’s wife and an official of a construction company?

    Do you feel that the pain suffered them might be the reason to use the Browne issue to embarrass the Manning Government?

    More facts will tell you if this is just a smoked screen, thus the long delay in exposing this 2004 dealing.

  44. frankology

    The fact that the Prime Minister of Trinidad knew nothing about the fraud allegations is HUGE.
    ………………………………………………………………………………….
    He might have known that revenge is always eminent within the Trinidadian political landscape.

  45. yatinkinkiteasy

    Fromtheotherside…
    does Parris “control” Duprey because of a Gay relationship? (Rumor) Parris can hardly read…and can barely speak English…yet,is one of the most powerful and wealthy businessmen on the Island…and still single I believe…any takers?

  46. Wishing in Vain

    yatinkinkiteasy he is married

  47. fromtheotherside

    We dont know about any gay relationship. They came through the ranks together going back to when Parris was the insurance salesman and Duprey was put in charge of Barbados by the old man. They must have done a lot together …

    The fact that Barbaodos media is now taking up a 3 year old story which was not hidden from the public speaks volumes.

  48. Observing

    Pandora. Clico et al. are asking for the return of the $800,000 udner the grounds that it was given based on inaccurate information and misstatements of commissions. Hardly a golden handshake,

  49. Hants

    yatinkinkiteasy Parris is married and is an intelligent articulate man.

    Sorry to disappoint you but you have been misled by those who attack successful people.

    He has worked harder to get where he is than a lot of Business leaders in Barbados.

    Attack him for what you know for a fact he has done or not done but don’t spread lies.

    Spreading lies about people is disgusting.Moreso about Black people who have managed to improve their lot in life.

  50. Sargeant

    Pandora

    “Anyone is Mariano’s position would have the good sens to mention such a cloud hanging over his head before accepting a ministerial appointment”

    Remember Bernard Kerik? Rudy Giuliani recommended him for Homeland Security czar and then the skeletons started to emerge from the closet. People in their zeal to accept certain positions or achieve certain goals often neglect to mention information that may put a redlight on their ambitions. Manning certainly wouldn’t want to have any corruption issues hanging over his gov’t remember that issue was used to great effect against Panday

  51. “Observing”- At the time the B$800,000 cheque was presented, the handshake that came with it was pretty golden, I’d say.

    It was only afterwards they realised how stupid they had been and gave the kick in the crutch to set matters straight.

    Clearly they would rather have given him the kick in the crutch when they parted company, but by then it was too late, and they are standing there like mumus, asking for their $800,000 back. Fat chance! You don’t often get such a big laugh in big business.

  52. “Sargeant”- Interesting to compare Mariano with Bernard Kerik. But I would not be so quick to take Mariano as guilty just because of the charges. He is very quick on his feet.

    I suspect that it will prove very difficult to prove that he acted with wilful malfeasance as criminal as embezzlement. And he will have B$800,000 to help pay for the top lawyers. He might even get damages for breach of verbal contract over the reneging on the sale of the bank to him.

    Quite possibly Clico et al. recognise the futility of their 2004 charges and feel that the least satisfaction they can get out of the case is to try and ruin his career by publicising it now out of bad mind. Let’s see how it plays out.

  53. anon

    If you want to find unreported judgements of Barbadian Cases, they can be found at The University of the West Indies Law Library.

    If you are really interested you could also go to the library at the courts.

    In any event, when a writ is filed (the document that originates proceedings in the high court) it becomes a public document.

    Just because you can’t find it online or you don’t remember seeing it in a newspaper does not mean that it is being hidden.

    ***********************

    BFP Comments…

    PLease! Spare us the BS!

    Fraud allegations involving the government, government projects, big-ups, government “letters of comfort” issued and a hostile takeover of a bank and not a whisper by any reporter or anyone!

    Please spare us the bulls**t

  54. Undercover...

    Where there is a will,there is a way..

  55. Mariano was CEO of CCB when CCB issued a $750k cheque to Owen Arthur for his campaign.

    He was CEO when Noel Lynch got his car loan and then refused to pay it back. The bank refused to pursue Lynch.

    Nearly every BLP crook got loans from CCB under Mariano.

    Despite whatever financial successes there may have been at CCB/RBTT, as CEO he had a duty of care to his Board and shareholders. In many cases he acted ultra-vires.

    He is not fit to be a Cabinet Minister anywhere, anytime.

  56. rasta man

    yatinkitineasy.
    I AGREE WITH YOU. I WAS APPALLED AT THE WAY MR PARRIS SPOKE RECENTLY ON TV. MAKES YOU WONDER HOW HE GOT WHERE HE IS?????

  57. Anonymous

    Yatinkitineasy and rasta man, watch out! Bricks coming your way. You dare not criticize spelling nor English grammar on this blog because there are a couple of sensitive ones on here whose grammar is atrocious and they jump on the high horse if you criticize them and tell you foolishness about how it doesn’t matter, once they get the point across! International readers of these blogs must have a good laugh at times.

  58. Adrian Loveridge

    I had to read the various Trinidad Express articles over and over again to try and get a feeling of why legal action taken out in July 2004 has not been resolved yet.

    As a travel orientated person, the statement ‘accused Browne of claiming a travel allowance of BDS$9,767.10 for personal travel to Bermuda in October 2003’, stood out.

    So 4 years later, with additional fuel, security and departure taxes, I went on to http://www.aa.com, the American Airlines website to check the fares from Barbados to Bermuda in December 2007.

    Travelling out 10 December (Monday) and returning 14 December (Friday), the FIRST class return fare is US$2,236.75 with No restrictions and including all taxes.

    So, BDS$4,473.50 out of a travel allowance of nearly BDS$10,000, and bear in mind that airfares must have risen in the last four plus years.

    If Mr Browne was travelling for personal reasons, he may have considered travelling economy, and in that case the airfare would be only US$1,389.31 including all taxes.

    So what was the over $5,000 spent on?

    Accommodation, meals, sightseeing, taxi fares?

    Even holding the position as Managing Director or CEO, wouldn’t these claims for ‘personal travel’ have to be approved?

    Clearly, this situation places the Bank of Butterfield in a very embarrassing position, especially as senior members of the Trinidad and Tobago Government are denying that they were made aware of the pending legal action against Mr Browne.

    Who knows, just one day we made even discover the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

  59. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados, Trinidad & Toabgo: Minister Accused of Fraud

  60. Leviticus

    The information here about Browne is not salutary. I think a lot more digging needs to be done. The last I heard from him he was on Starcom defending Hardwood! interesting.

  61. Jerome Hinds

    Following the dialogue on this one…….. Peter Piper has a point !

    Mariano Browne was the CEO of CCB where Owen’s $ 750,000.00 was issued from !

    David Shorey sat on the Board of CCB at the time !

    Mariano Browne sits on the Enterprise Growth Fund ( EGF ) Board….the one that lent Hardwood Inc. money !

    So with a court case hanging over his head…..Owen presides over the appointment of Mariano Browne to sit on the EGF Board !

    The issue of good governance means nothing to Owen Arthur !

    On to the No – Confidence motion……because there is a connnection with this one !

    David Thompson rightly says…..he will debate the motion in his time……!

    Time…….. the BLP hoodlums can ill – afford to see past by !

  62. Jerome Hinds

    This exactly my point……PM Manning being urged to let Mariano Browne deal with his court case before being appointed by the Trinidadian government.

    While in Barbados……Owen Arthur allows Mariano Browne to sit on the EGF Board to preside over the dubious use of $ 2 million for HARDWOOD Inc.

    http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_news?id=161241666

  63. Leviticus

    Jerome, when I think about it its sadder for Barbados than we think. If David Thompson’s integrity legislation was passed, these things couldn’t happen where private sector crooks can run government entities and give away millions of taxpayers money!

    From the Trinidad Express:

    Karen looks forward to working with Mariano

    Lawsuit filed against Minister in her Finance Ministry

    Tuesday, November 27th 2007

    Finance Minister Karen Tesheira says she is still looking forward to working with her line minister, Mariano Browne, even though there is a lawsuit against him for financial impropriety and corporate misbehaviour.

    Tesheira, in a telephone interview with the Express yesterday, admitted she was not aware of the lawsuit until she read about it in an exclusive report in the Sunday Express.

    She said this was all the information she had about the allegations against Browne and could not comment on the matter, as it would be premature for her to do so.

    When questioned on whether there would be a meeting of some sort on the issue when Prime Minister Patrick Manning returns from Uganda, Tesheira said, “I think the Prime Minister will do what is right.”

    Browne is expected to start working with Tesheira at the Finance Ministry from Monday.

    However, former finance minister Gerald Yetming, commenting on the issue, said if Manning were serious about projecting a clean government, he could not see how Browne could be appointed to manage this country’s economy.

    “I don’t subscribe to the view that he is innocent until proven guilty in the case of an appointment like this,” Yetming said, adding that Browne should successfully deal with these allegations before he comes to work for the people of this country.

    “He’s being sued by two major financial entities, this is not some frivolous lawsuit,” he added.

    “If Mr Manning is serious about trying to project his ministers as clean, then I don’t see how he can proceed with such an appointment. If this appointment goes through, it will suggest Mr Manning doesn’t care … he will send a terrible signal to the local and international communities if Browne is to be appointed.”

    Yetming said Browne should have made full disclosure about this lawsuit and it is sad that all of this has only now come to the public attention.

    The Sunday Express reported that a civil lawsuit was filed in the Supreme Court in Barbados in July 2004 by CCB’s new owner, RBTT, and its previous owner, Clico Holdings Barbados Ltd, alleging that Browne-the former president and chief executive of CCB-breached his fiduciary duty and the bank’s rule and procedures.

    The court papers accused Browne of using bank money on personal travel and the payment of unauthorised bonuses to himself and other senior management staff, among other things.

  64. Adrian Loveridge

    Browne hits back: Accusations ‘baseless and of no merit’
    Trinidad Express 29th November 2007

    ‘Minister in the Finance Ministry, Mariano Browne, has finally broke his silence over reports of a lawsuit which accused him of financial impropriety, saying that he is insulted that his former employers would take such action against him, since the allegation were baseless and of no merit’.

    Wasn’t the action taken against him in 2004, and more than three years later he is ‘insulted’?

    Why was David Shorey fired and is there any pending legal action against him?

  65. BFP- On Nov 26 I said, inter alia, “I am sure Mariano has given his version of the affair to Manning”

    To which you added a Postscript of refutation, “The FACT that the Prime Minister of Trinidad knew nothing about the fraud allegation is HUGE.”

    Now we see in the Epress article,

    “Manning also said he was aware of the allegations against Browne before he decided to appoint him”

    It appears your FACT was erroneous supposition.

    ***************************

    BFP Replies

    Hi pandora,

    Yes, it appears that the original news article, and therefore our article, was incorrect. The acting PM didn’t know about the allegations against Browne.

    The fact that the PM knew about the allegations before appointing him raises another whole set of issues, doesn’t it?

    Of course… that is only IF the PM is telling the truth! What is he going to say, “I didn’t know” ?

    Politically the only course of action is for him to now say “we know about it and we don’t believe it” – whether he knew or not!

    Nonetheless, it is all more of the same in Barbados politics. Crooks associating with crooks and hiring other crooks.

  66. BFP- In what respect was the original Express article, which is quoted above,wrong? There is no reference in it to any Trinidad minister saying they did not know. So your “and therefore OUR ‘article’ (?- comment) was incorrect.”

    Maybe you are thinking of a later Express article?

    ****************

    BFP Comments…

    Hi Pandora

    Robert here. I didn’t write the original article so I’ll have to ask Cliverton where he saw the original statement by the acting PM. Or maybe they changed the online article. It happens more often than you would imagine in the Carib media.

    That is one thing I love about blogging. When readers spot an inaccuracy or disagree with an opinion or interpretation we can all work it out together and leave a record of the changes. If we really blow it, we even do an expose piece on ourselves to say we blew it. (ie: When we got it totally wrong about the new CEO of VECO who had the same name as a relative who went to jail for fraud, we did a huge clarification and it is still up for all to see.)

    With the “normal” media, if they get it wrong they quietly change things with no record of what happened.

    Media-savvy people are learning that the traditional news media have been getting away with murder for years. Look at the Nation News ignoring so many major stories because the government has them under the gun.

    So thanks so much for helping to keep BFP accurate and honest.

  67. Hants

    BFP and Pandora.

    Fact…Mariano Browne was sued by RBTT and CLICO in 2004.

    Fact…Mariano Browne is now a Minister of Finance in T&T.

    Was the Trinidadian public informed of this matter and is it a problem for the Government and citizens of Trinidad ?

    It certainly is important to Barbadians because of Browne’s involvement in Hardwood Housing Inc.

    I am sure we will hear more about this when the no confidence motion is debated.

  68. Adrian Loveridge

    Monday 26th November 2007 – Trinidad Express

    ‘Acting Prime Minister Dr. Lenny Saith said yesterday he was unaware of any allegations of financial impropriety made against newly appointed Minister in the Minstry of Finance Mariano Browne by his former employer’.

    Thursday 29th November 2007 – Trinidad Express

    ‘Manning also said that he was aware of the allegations against Browne before he decided to appoint him’.

    So the acting Prime Minister was NOT aware but the Prime Minister WAS aware?

    Presumably Prime Minster Manning has access to a telephone, even in Uganda, and wouldn’t it have been prudent for the acting PM to check BEFORE making a public statement?

  69. Remember Plantations

    This whole issue is nothing but a trumped up attempt by Leroy Parris to smear Mariano using his lawyer who just happens to be David Thompson! What a pair.

    Although the countersuit was filed in 2004 after Mariano dared to sue Clico for Parris’ reneging on a deal for a management buyout. At that time Parris said “Browne will only get a bank over my dead body!” and then sold hastily to RBTT for $3.4m LESS than offered by the management buyout. Talk about obtaining shareholder value!

    This fued stems from Mariano’s refusal to allow Leroy Parris to sit on CCB’s Board of Directors, something I understand the Central Bank of Barbados was quite pleased about (someething about “fit and proper” I believe).

    The spite of Leroy knows no bounds and his “special relationship” with Duprey and Thompson allows him to get away with it.

    How he got RBTT to play along just shows that it was part of the sale agreeement which allowed them to buy cheap and fast.
    This man is real bad news but remember the really scary part is that he is the principal financier of the DLP and his “special friend” David Thompson, who just happens to be his lawyer. Cosy enough for you?

  70. Anonymous

    While the real people continue to steal your money, as people use Mariano Browne as a scapegoat and the barbados media has once again made the people of barbados eat up another lie.
    The owners of RBTT are laughing all the way to the bank with the gov’ts money

  71. Anonymous

    dance bajan puppets…dance

  72. Seems as though in order to live a comfortable life in Barbados you just have to be homosexual, crooked, lied and have friends “at the top”. Who was it that fed us the false belief that all you had to do was to get a good education and all would be well with you in all spheres of your life? That philosophy seems to have done the greatest damage to our psyche, especially those of us who came from certain districts that are regarded as “low class” (Pine, Ivy, Deacons, Haynesville etc.). Some of us have been working in the Civil Service for more than 30 years and keep wondering why is it that we cannot get two cents to rub together or accumulate savings in any financial institution. Now I have come to understand that integrity, determination and Godliness certainly do not get you anywhere near your heart’s desires as they relate to working for a salary that can fully accommodate a mortgage, car loan, student revolving loan and a healthily life style, travel and savings with a financial institution. May God help all those persons who acted as “Blockers” on my stage of life!

  73. Pingback: RBTT Bank Caribbean Ltd. | Link adviser

  74. Sebastian Bermudes

    Just getting my bearing right. Was the alleged fraud committed during the Clico or R.B.T.T. ownership?
    We must be focused on the payments before we begin the finger-pointing. I can see a connection with both political parties mix-up in the free hand-outs.

  75. Pingback: Media, messages and men; it’s not always a fair game | UNC