Suspect in Seychelles’ missing $50 million released on record bail amount
The sixth suspect in the case of the missing $50 million was released on a record $2 million bail with conditions by the Seychelles Supreme Court on Friday.
Justice Rony Govinden, the presiding judge, ordered that the high-profile civilian, a 63-year-old woman who was arrested a little before 11 am at her residence on November 26, not only pay the bail amount, but also have two $37,408 bail bonds and her passport handed over to the court registrar.
The woman is suspected of being involved in the laundering of $50 million that was granted to the Seychelles’ government by the United Arab Emirates in 2002. The fund was transferred to a bank account of the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB), now the Seychelles Trading Company (STC), in a Baroda bank in England.
The case was brought to court by the Anti-Corruption Commission of Seychelles (ACCS). According to the Commission’s attorney, Tony Juliette, a sum exceeding $700,000 was credited into an Australian account in the name of the suspect in four different transactions from an account fully controlled by the prime suspect in the case.
The prosecution presented the same argument it had when the woman had first appeared before the courts, among which was the fact that during a search of the suspect’s residence government records were discovered.
However, in view of the suspect’s many business interests, the prosecution was also asking that her detention be further extended so that it may build evidence of her consistent involvement in money laundering.
The defence lawyer, Joel Camille, outlined in court that the ACCS has been unable to present a strong case to link the suspect’s involvement in the missing funds through her interest in certain business entities.
He claimed that the whole exercise was a fishing expedition as the prosecution had 14 days to further investigate and had come up with nothing.
The prosecution further outlined that during the search at the suspects’ residence, government records were discovered.
Govinden dismissed the prosecution’s request for further detention of seven days. He cited that it was possible to release her with very strict conditions that would prevent her from interfering or tampering with the case.
The defence had also requested that the suspect manage her daily expenses, which the courts allowed on condition that it was done in a controlled environment, overseen by the ACCS.
The five other suspects in the case: a couple, a senior officer of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces, a man who was a former government official and a woman who was the director general of finance, are scheduled to be back in court on December 17.