Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Millions in questionable assets turned over to State

Published:Thursday | August 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
One of the two BMWs that the father and family friend of Gauntlett Gallimore have agreed to forfeit to the State.-Contributed

After mounting a legal fight to keep what Jamaican investigators claim are millions of dollars worth of ill-gotten assets, the family and friends of a suspected drug dealer have agreed to turn them over to the State.

In a negotiated agreement formalised in the Supreme Court last week, the former girlfriend, father, and a female friend of Gauntlett Gallimore have agreed to forfeit a $20-million house in St Ann and two BMW motor cars; however, as part of the agreement, Gallimore's former girlfriend gets to keep a Lexus motor car that was restrained by the court, and a stake in the house, among other things.

"It is not a total forfeiture. She is to get a part of the proceeds from the sale of the house and some other things," a source close to her told The Gleaner.

The case marks the latest victory for the Financial Investigations Division (FID) in its drive to go after assets believed to be derived from criminal activities.

"This recovery order is the manifestation of the division's strategy to fully utilise the criminal, civil, or administrative powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to combat money laundering and forfeiting the benefits individuals obtained from crime - directly or indirectly," FID boss Justin Felice said.

Although he was never convicted for any drug-related offence, Jamaican investigators say Gallimore was involved in the illegal drug trade in the United Kingdom (UK) before he was deported in March 2008. He was shot and killed by unknown assailants five months later at his St Ann home.

The legal battle began in 2012 when the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) went to court and got separate restraining orders for the house and motor vehicles.

To support the application, court documents show that Gallimore's girlfriend gave a statement to an FID investigator, admitting that the house had been purchased with money she obtained from him over several months.

INCOME SOURCE

The investigator also suggested, in court documents, that she had no source of "legitimate or illegitimate income to explain her ability to purchase the house".

Court papers show that Gallimore's last known employment in Jamaica was as a cook in Brown's Town, St Ann.

They also show that he entered the UK illegally in 2002, and, as a result, was not issued with a National Insurance Number and, therefore, was not entitled to work.

The house, which is located in Exchange, St Ann, was purchased for £83,000 and registered in the names of Gallimore's then paramour and her brother.

Last year, lawyers for Gallimore's former girlfriend, his father, and a family friend went to court to have the restraining orders obtained by the ARA lifted for several properties registered in their names. Court documents show that his father and the family friend had reluctantly registered two BMW motor cars in their names.

The attorneys argued that the orders were improperly obtained and that the Proceeds of Crime Act had not been properly applied at the time.