By Caribbean News Now contributor
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands -- Two local attorneys, Timothy Gordon O’Sullivan and Gordon Kerr, appeared before the Magistrates Court at Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on Wednesday morning charged jointly with:
1. Conspiracy to cheat the public revenue
2. Cheating the public revenue
3. Conspiracy to false account
It is alleged that, between January 2005 and March 2007, they cheated the Controller of Stamp Duty by falsely representing that the value of a transaction for the sale of land and property at Emerald Cay was $11 million, when the true valuation was approximately $28 million, thereby causing a loss to the public revenue of approximately $1.5 million in stamp duty.
They were remanded on bail to appear before the Turks and Caicos Islands Supreme Court for a sufficiency hearing on 8 November 2013.
The TCI government has received over $8 million in settlement of a civil recovery claim arising out of the underpayment of stamp duty on the 2006 sale of Emerald Cay. The upscale property was purchased by US multimillionaire Tim Blixseth.
Blixseth's attorneys claimed the manipulation was the fault of the then Progressive National Party (PNP)-led government, which they said was “corrupt.”
The attorneys, who, according to Justice Martin at the time, carefully crafted the documents to disguise the true sales price, are members of the law firms of Miller, Simons and O'Sullivan, and Misick and Stanbrook respectively.
At the close of the case against the Emerald Cay buyers, Justice Martin said, “On any assessment of the facts this was a carefully crafted scheme of tax evasion. It would not have been possible without the assistance of attorneys.”
The property includes a 30,000 square foot home with a three-storey great room, nine bedrooms and three-storey library. An award winning entertainment room, a 6,000 bottle wine cellar, two swimming pools, tennis and volleyball courts, a manmade beach and a marble driveway are included. The property is accessed by a remote control swing bridge from Providenciales.
The property was listed for sale by Blixseth for $75 million then later reduced to $48 million.