“For the last week it has been rumoured that I might be charged on the next occasion that I attended at the offices of the Special Investigation and Prosecution Team. That rumour was not without basis and yesterday afternoon I was charged,” Greene said on Wednesday.
Although unnamed in a corresponding statement issued by the SIPT on Tuesday, Green, 47, appears to have been charged with money laundering.
Also arrested and charged on Tuesday with conspiring to receive bribes was former PNP minister of natural resources, McAllister Hanchell, 42.
Both men are to appear in court on Friday
“I have done nothing wrong and I am confident that acquittal and vindication will come in due course,” Greene said in his press release.
“I encourage the special investigators to move quickly to bring me before the courts on the charges so that this matter can be concluded as soon as possible. It is necessary that these matters be determined sooner rather than later so that the country and its people can begin again to move forward,” he added.
According to an earlier statement by Greene, his arrest and questioning last month related to funds he received on behalf of his cousin Quinton Hall.
Greene said that last December he was approached by SIPT, who wanted to interview him concerning US$1 million that Quinton Hall had received for the 2006 sale of an interest in Crown land.
“I did not act for Quinton Hall in the sale; however, his proceeds of sale did come to a trust account which my firm operated at TCI Bank and from which I disbursed the funds on Quinton’s instructions,” Greene said.
“The relevant funds were drawn on the account of a reputable institution in the Turks and Caicos Islands held at a commercial bank in the Turks and Caicos Islands and I had no reason to suspect that they were anything other than clean funds. When I deposited the funds into my account its source was declared to the bank and the bank did not question me further on it. I also had no reason to doubt that the transaction was anything other than legitimate,” he continued.
“I believed then as I do now, that these funds were 100 percent legitimate and the investigators have not said anything during the interview to persuade me that as regards the transaction with which my firm was concerned that I was mistaken in that belief,” Greene added.
Greene is the second PNP leader to be arrested while in office, the first being Norman Saunders, who was arrested and imprisoned in the United States on drug trafficking related charges in 1985.
It was initially believed locally that Greene’s arrest may have been in relation to the sale of 2,500 acres of Crown land on the western end of Middle Caicos for an apparently greatly undervalued sale price of $6,000 per acre. Greene, an attorney at law, acted for the purchaser in the transaction.
The full amount of the sale, to a now financially challenged South Florida developer, was financed by a $15 million dollar loan from the TCI branch of the Belize Bank, which holds a lien on the property for that amount. However, only half that amount — $7.5 million – was actually paid as a down payment to the government, which holds an additional lien of $7.5 million against the land. It has not yet been revealed what happened to the other $7.5 million apparently advanced by the Belize Bank.
Also yet to be explained is the division of a small portion of the land into small plots, which were assigned to residents of Middle Caicos.
At the time of the sale, Greene was also acting as Speaker of the House while at the same time representing the buyer, which is widely perceived locally to be a significant conflict of interest.
SIPT had promised to investigate the transaction by late 2011 but no further information has been forthcoming.