By Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Following the republication of a Caribbean News Now story
by the government-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper under the headline “Ramkarran fingered in multi-million US$ estate fraud - allegedly received US$750,000”, Ralph Ramkarran, a prominent attorney and former speaker of the house in Guyana, has sought and obtained an ex parte injunction preventing the Chronicle from republishing further stories concerning the case, although the original story as republished is still online.
The Guyana Chronicle did not respond to a request for comment.
However, attorneys in Guyana familiar with the case expressed some surprise that Ramkarran would adopt this course of action because, they say, he will now be required to address in court at an inter partes hearing the truth of his alleged involvement in a multi-million dollar fraud.
In particular, at least part of the proceeds of an alleged US$4 million theft from an account in the Cayman Islands is said to have ended up in an account in Ramkarran’s name with the Bank of Saint Lucia International Limited (BOSIL), after apparently being laundered through The Bahamas.
On April 11, 2011, one Hari Narayen Ramkarran, aka Ralph Ramkarran, opened an account number 651-968-0 with BOSIL. According to a copy of the account application form, Ramkarran was introduced to BOSIL by his alleged co-conspirator Ali Mudeen.
Ramkarran told the bank that the activity over the account would represent “deposits from income and overseas investments” and that the average monthly balance would be US$150,000. The initial deposit to the account of US$20,000 was described as being “repayment by Ali Mudeen of loan to him”.
According to a former parliamentary colleague in Guyana, Ramkarran’s signature and other personal details on the account form appear to be genuine.
According to a witness statement given to the Barbados police by an individual claiming knowledge of the transaction, along with corroborating evidence including contemporaneous emails, Ramkarran allegedly enlisted the help of Mudeen, the then managing director of ATC Trustees (Cayman) Limited, and also a former employee of Ramkarran in his law office in Guyana, to gain unauthorised access to the funds in an account in the name of the late Yusuf Mongroo with First Caribbean International Bank (FCIB) in the Cayman Islands.
This appears to have been accomplished with the assistance of a Caymanian woman -- a low level airline employee with no prior experience or expertise in administering multi-million dollar estates – who, on or about January 28, 2011, walked into the offices of FCIB in the Cayman Islands, purporting to be the executrix of a probated will said to have been made by Yusuf Mongroo on August 6, 2010, and expressed to be limited to his assets in the Cayman Islands.
The woman instructed FCIB to wire transfer the balance in excess of US$4 million in Mongroo’s account to the Bank of Bahamas for the account of the purported sole beneficiary of his Cayman estate, a mysterious and hitherto unknown Bahamian entity called the “YM Guy-Caribe Foundation”.
FCIB complied with this request, apparently failing to enquire and/or notice that the so-called YM Guy-Caribe Foundation had not been established until November 5, 2010; in other words, almost three months after the Cayman will had purportedly been executed.
According to the witness statement to the Barbados police, Ramkarran’s share of the stolen money was $750,000.
The matter is under investigation by the Financial Crimes Unit of the Cayman Islands police and, according to a statement by a police spokesperson last year, 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.”