JLP-Olint connection?

Published: Friday | February 13, 2009


Tyrone Reid, Staff Reporter


Olint boss, David Smith. - File

Anonymously forwarded emails linking the Jamaica Labour Party's narrow 2007 general election victory to massive funding from embattled investment banker David Smith and his floundering investment scheme, Olint, have been creating a firestorm in cyberspace.

The emails also name prominent people from corporate Jamaica, as well as well-established firms and the sums they allegedly invested in the foreign-exchange investment club.

Bloggers have been having a field day with the information, while many investors have been lamenting on blogs about the slim chances of recovering their investments.

Several politicians are named in the emails. Some are said to have received funding, while others allegedly asked for financial assistance.

James Robertson, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, is one of them.

Detailed email

However, Robertson yesterday categorically denied receiving funding from Smith or Olint.

"The St Thomas Education Development Foundation and my campaign in West St Thomas did not receive any funding directly from David Smith," Robertson told The Gleaner last night.

In one correspondence, purportedly from Robertson and sent from a close relative's email account, a request was made for Smith to provide "support" that would "make a meaningful difference to the Jamaica Labour Party's success". The email included a local bank account number.

"I can't remember. I send hundreds of emails and I am not denying that I am aware or have knowledge or know David," Robertson said.

"I am not denying that there was contact.I am denying nothing but in terms of that specific, I can't answer that."

FACEless SENDER

Robertson added that it was quite possible that a request was made, but he would have to check his records.

Robertson suggested that the person behind the recent spate of emails should come forward.

"I cannot speak to something that I don't know the source of it. It is being sent around the world, but nobody is claiming it, nobody is stan-ding up and saying this is a fact," Robertson added.

Another government minister named in the emails said he would not comment because it was a rumour.

Efforts to contact the other ministers and MPs named in the email were unsucces-sful. Messages were left with personal assistants and on voicemail, but the calls were not returned.

Last week, Smith was arrested by police in The Turks and Caicos Islands following months of investigation into the operations of Olint in those islands.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's Court of Appeal has reserved its decision in the appeal brought by Olint against a Supreme Court ruling which upheld a cease-and-desist order issued by the Financial Services Commission.

tyrone.reid@gleanerjm.com