Court: Charges Dismissed Against Four People

January 24, 2019

The charges against former Hamilton Mayor Graeme Outerbridge, Ed Benevides, developer Michael MacLean and his wife Yasmin MacLean were dismissed in the Supreme Court, a member of the legal team confirmed.

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that there was no basis in law to substantiate the charges against the four people, and the case was dismissed.

The four people had been charged in court last year with alleged offences relating to the loan monies for the Par-la-Ville hotel development, with the funds having been loaned by Mexico Infrastructure Finance [MIF].

On a separate, but related note, yesterday MIF contacted the U.S. Consulate and the media to summarize their “experience as a US entity doing business in Bermuda, and specifically with the Corporation of Hamilton [CoH]” saying they “are hopeful this will serve as a reference point and warning to other US companies considering doing business in and with Bermuda.”

The company said that MIF provided “a bridge loan to a local developer [PLV] for the purpose of enabling a permanent financing for the eventual construction of a hotel and covered car park in Hamilton on a surface lot owned by the CoH, referred to locally as the Par-la-Ville project.”

They said that, “In support of the developer and the project, the CoH agreed to provide an unconditional guarantee to MIF of its loan to PLV [up to a maximum amount] and, in addition, the CoH pledged the parcel of land to be used for the project in question to MIF as collateral.”

MIF alleged that the majority of the funds sent “to an offshore party” who they alleged “squandered” it on “lavish goods, services and properties.”

The U.S. based company noted that the CoH subsequently decided to appeal, saying the guarantee had been provided “ultra vires, i.e. outside the scope of its municipal powers.”

“The appeal by the CoH was successful in the local courts, and was recently upheld by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the UK,” MIF noted, adding that “the end result of these events and actions is that MIF has incurred a multi-million dollar loss.”

“While MIF will continue to seek justice, in addition to a lawsuit already in course in New York, we believe it is important that other potential investors in, and lenders to, Bermuda be aware of the above facts and actions by the CoH,” they added.

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