The Laundry Man by Kenneth Rijock ( Penguin/Random House UK)

Sunday, January 29, 2017


With all the chaos surrounding Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and the allegation that he is presently under criminal investigation in the United States, regarding his actions in the issuance of Diplomatic Passports, and claims that it is false news, it is noteworthy that a major Caribbean media outlet tonight disclosed that it has its own sources, and that they have independently corroborated that Skerrit is indeed under investigation.

It is time to accept the fact that the PM has been verified as a Person of Interest, notwithstanding what he, his dodgy lawyers, and his public relations staff, have released, in the way of spin control. Skerrit  should concede the point, or lose whatever credibility he may have left among the people in Dominica. 

Now on to the next major issue; recent revelations have exposed the fact that Monfared's partner, Babak Zanjani was sanctioned by OFAC at least a year before the due diligence was ostensibly conducted upon Monfared. Additionally, the corporation that owned one of Monfared's shipping vessels was also identified prior to the due diligence. This means that either:
(1)The NY screening company completely fell down on the job, and failed to identify Monfared as an Iranian oil sanctions evader, or
(2) Roosevelt Skerrit found incriminating information in the report, and suppressed it, personally seeing to it that Monfared passed, with flying colors. Perhaps the Minister of Foreign Affairs would like to answer this question, please. 

I wonder, which alternative seems more feasible to you, given Skerrit's prior history ?

Finally, I am certainly no expert in the laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but a fair reading of Articles 2 and 3 of that country's Money Laundering Law clearly implicates PM Skerrit for money laundering. He:
(1) aided and abetted in the movement, in international travel, of the proceeds of crime, to wit: the millions in embezzled Iranian profits, by granting Monfared a diplomatic passport, which allowed him to move wealth, from Malaysia, to Dominica, in "two large suitcases," without having to open them at any Customs or Immigration entry checkpoint, due to the diplomatic status of the passport holder. 
(2) He accepted funds, on behalf of the Citizenship by Investment program, that were the proceeds of crime, not having verified the Source of Funds. In truth and in fact, the money was embezzled, and was therefore, criminal proceeds.
(3) I found several other categories, in the Iranian Money Laundering Law, such assisting the offender, and hiding the true nature of criminal proceeds that could also apply to Skerrit's actions.

The expert opinion of an attorney, duly qualified in the Law of Iran, should be secured by interested parties, at the earliest opportunity. Remember well, Skerrit denied the Iranian Government's petition to extradite Monfared, when he resided in Dominica, and moved him to the Dominican Republic, facts will not soon be forgotten by Iran's leaders. Iran will also be interested in any assets left behind by Monfared, if situated in Dominica.

We wonder aloud: who will bring money laundering charges against Skerrit first, the United States, or Iran ? 

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