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PJ denies getting US$1m from OLINT

Published:Monday | May 7, 2012 | 5:21 PM

Former Prime Minister of Jamaica P. J. Patterson has denied ever receiving US$1,000,000 from David Smith of Olint.

His comments follow news of a Confiscation Order issued by the Supreme Court of Turks and Caicos that mentions a gift of US$1,000,000 by David Smith to one “P.J Patterson.”

“I deny categorically ever soliciting or receiving any such gift,” Patterson said in a statement a short while ago.

According to Patterson, during the last few days before the 2007 General Elections, he had a telephone conversation with Smith pertaining to reports that in addition to the donations he had already given to both political parties, Smith had made hefty contributions to the Jamaica Labour Party campaign in Central Manchester because he was determined to see the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Peter Bunting defeated.

Patterson says Smith admitted to doing so because he claimed that Bunting had orchestrated the raid on his Kingston offices.

Patterson says Smith also said he had heard that should the PNP win, Bunting could become the Minister of Finance and he feared that Bunting was out to destroy him.

“I told him that to my certain knowledge, Peter Bunting had denied any such involvement and while I was in no position to anticipate where Cabinet members would be assigned, I assured him that in any case, the traditions of the party and the guidelines for Cabinet conduct would not allow any Member to pursue a vendetta or discriminatory treatment against any person or group engaged in business. Anything done would be in accordance with the law.”

Patterson said Smith expressed great relief with that assurance.

“He stated that he had already made contributions to both parties, but he was disposed to increasing what he had previously given to the Party’s Campaign Fund,” said Patterson.

However, the former Prime Minister said Smith did not disclose to him a specific amount.

“I told him that I was not an officer in the Campaign and he was free to contact Comrade Danny Buchanan, the General Secretary and Campaign Director regarding whatever further contribution he desired to make.”

Patterson says he then informed Buchanan of the conversation and the general secretary promised to speak with Smith.

“I do not know what was the outcome of those discussions and how much more if any was contributed to the coffers of the campaign,” the former Prime Minister said.

Patterson concludes: “What I can assert is that no money came into any account owned or controlled by me nor was there any cheque signed by me, nor did any other financial transaction take place which required or obtained my sanction.”

On August 11 last year, former Olint boss, David Smith, was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

He was accused of operating a ponzi scheme which bilked investors out of more than 200 million US dollars.

Smith had pleaded guilty to four charges of wire fraud, one case of conspiracy to commit money laundering and 18 cases of money laundering.