Mon | Oct 21, 2019

Belize Gov't says tax official arrested in US should be placed on immediate interdiction

Published:Sunday | September 29, 2019 | 11:02 AM

BELMOPAN, Belize, CMC – The Belize Tax Service Department (BTSD) is recommending that its deputy director, Reynaldo Verde, be placed on “immediate interdiction” pending the outcome of his legal battles in the United States where he is facing charges alleging interference with commerce by means of extortion and attempted extortion.

Verde has denied the allegations after he was detained in the United States on September 7 and charged by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“In light of the details of the charges being levied against Mr. Verde, the Belize Tax Service Department has submitted a recommendation to the Public Services Commission that Mr. Verde is placed on immediate interdiction pending the outcome of this legal action. This is in accordance with Public Service Regulations governing such matters,” according to a Belize government statement.

It also said “the Belize Tax Service Department has commenced its own investigation of the circumstances that were described in the case documents that led to the charges against Mr. Verde, with an aim to determine if any further actions should be taken by the Department and by Police Department as the case may be”.

Earlier this month, the Belize government said it had received reports that Verde was transiting through the United States on his return to the country from Brussels, after attending a taxation workshop organised by an international tax organisation when he was detained.

“It is, therefore, not known at this time the nature of the charge or whether it is related to Mr. Verde’s employment with the Government of Belize,” the statement said, adding “as more information becomes available, Mr. Verde’s employment status with the Government of Belize will be put before the Public Services Commission in accordance with the rules and regulations for the Public Services for consideration and decision”.

In its latest statement, the government said that Verde, 46, “as would any public officer, will be afforded due process, including the presumption of innocence, as provided by the Belize Constitution (Public Service) Regulations, 2014 in this investigation and related follow-up action”.