Yusuf Mongroo (left) leading in one of his race horses Bipin in Barbados with jockey Kenny John on board and local attorney Malcolm Deane (right). File photo: Barbados Nation
By Caribbean News Now contributor
NEW YORK, USA -- A Trinidadian woman is currently fighting to rescue her father’s estate, believed to be valued in the tens of millions of dollars, from the clutches of a band of modern day pirates of the Caribbean, following a trail of financial rape and pillage that stretches from Guyana in the south, through Barbados and the Cayman Islands, to The Bahamas in the north.
Following the death of Yusuf Mongroo in Guyana in August 2010 at the age of 82, his daughter Sherene has uncovered a series of fraudulent acts that rival anything a good mystery novel author could dream up.
An entire crew of suspicious characters includes members of her own family, a prominent Caribbean banker, an airline employee, various attorneys, medical doctors and at least one corrupt government official.
The story begins in Guyana with the death of Yusuf Mongroo, who was originally from Trinidad but established a well known and extremely lucrative business in Guyana called Horse Shoe Racing, an off track bookmaker. He also owned and raced thoroughbred horses in Barbados and the US.
When Sherene Mongroo travelled to Guyana from New York immediately following her father’s death, she was confronted by a situation that she has described as horrifying.
She discovered that her father had been kept isolated from his immediate family and grossly mistreated during the final stages of his life by individuals that were supposed to have been caring for him and who conveniently benefited under what now turns out to be a fraudulent will, made just three days before his death.
An autopsy was carried out at Sherene’s insistence, which revealed that her father could not possibly have been of sound mind when he supposedly made the will in question.
The matter is now before the courts in Guyana and also under investigation by the local police.
The story then moves to the Cayman Islands, where Sherene discovered that another will purported to have been signed by her father some nine days before he died, and limited to his assets in the Cayman Islands, had been used to steal some US$4 million of her father’s money from an account with FirstCaribbean International Bank there.
The purported will appointed a Caymanian woman, previously completely unknown to Sherene, as executrix of Yusuf Mongroo’s Cayman assets and left the entire estate to a mysterious Bahamian entity called the YM Guy-Caribe Foundation.
The woman in question applied for and obtained a grant of probate in relation to Yusuf Mongroo’s Cayman estate and subsequently gave instructions to transfer the entire $4 million to an account in The Bahamas. The woman is thought to have received a substantial payment for her participation in this fraudulent scheme.
The matter is currently under investigation by the Financial Crimes Unit of the Cayman Islands police and, according to a statement by a police spokesperson, a “54-year-old woman was arrested in connection with this investigation in March 2012. She was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to steal monies and has been released on police bail while enquiries continue.”
Sherene said she will also be commencing civil proceedings in the Cayman Islands because, not only was the purported will a forgery from the outset, the sole beneficiary – the YM Guy-Caribe Foundation – did not even exist at the time the will was made.
Furthermore, the Cayman court appears to have failed to exercise the due diligence required by local law in granting probate of the purported will to an individual with no established connection to Yusuf Mongroo or his family and no professional standing or experience in dealing with a multi-million dollar estate. The court even ignored its own rules in failing to require an affidavit of foreign law from a legal practitioner in Guyana as to the due execution of the purported will, instead accepting an affidavit from the former Registrar of Deeds in Guyana, Carolyn Paul, who had no legal qualification and who has now been questioned by the Guyana police in connection with the document.
Sherene then followed the money trail to The Bahamas and obtained official records that show conclusively that the so called YM Guy-Caribe Foundation was not even incorporated until November 5, 2010, some three months after the fraudulent Cayman will was purportedly signed by Mongroo and his death nine days later.
The matter there is now under investigation by the Financial Intelligence Unit of The Bahamas police and, again, no suspicious activity report was ever filed by any of the banks and other financial professionals involved, even though the $4 million was effectively laundered through the jurisdiction within a short period of time.
Now that she has sufficient documentary evidence, Sherene – a US citizen -- said she intends to file a report with US law enforcement authorities under the various anti-money laundering laws that apply both domestically and internationally, given that the funds in question, being denominated in US dollars, must at some point have passed through one or more accounts with US financial institutions, thus bringing the matter within the ambit of US law.
Meanwhile, yet another fraudulent will has come to light in Barbados, where Yusuf Mongroo owned bank accounts, real estate and race horses, limited to those assets in Barbados.
Enquiries are continuing in Barbados, where it is believed some of the principal conspirators in this saga may now be located.
Sherene Mongroo says she has reason to believe that her late father may have had assets in other jurisdictions and if any readers have any relevant information in this respect, they should feel free to send pertinent details and/or documents in confidence to email@example.com