Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Haitian banker denies Canadian allegation of involvement in gang violence

Published:Wednesday | September 27, 2023 | 12:09 AM


The vice-president of Haiti’s largest bank, UNIBANK, has denied involvement in any criminal or gang activity in the French speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country after Canada imposed sanctions on him and two other prominent business executives.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Mélanie Joly, announced the sanctions on Carl Braun, as well as Marc Antoine Acra, the former adviser to former prime minister Laurent Lamothe, and Jean-Marie Vorbe, the chief executive officer of Sogener, a company in the energy sector.

Canada said it has reason to believe the three individuals are “fuelling the violence and instability in Haiti through corruption and other criminal acts and by enabling the illegal activities of armed gangs that terrorise the population and threaten peace and security in Haiti”.

But in a statement, Braun said he has never during his 69 years of age, including 47 years of professional career, participated “neither as a briber, even less as a corrupt, in any business, any transaction, any contract with the Haitian State or with national or international private individuals and companies, for which I would have given or received a payment, a commission, a prebend or others, contrary to the law and ethics”

He said he has never committed criminal acts and has no relationship, “direct or indirect, financial, political or otherwise, with the bandits and armed gangs who terrorise the Haitian population.

“On the contrary, my family, my friends, my employees, my clients and my businesses have suffered and continue to suffer from the widespread insecurity that is rife in Haiti.”

Braun said that he intends to take and will take “all measures to defend my dignity.

“I do not underestimate the length of the road, nor the personal, family and financial costs that will be associated with it, but I will not let my reputation as a man of honesty and integrity be sullied without defending myself.

“My honour demands it,” he said, adding that he was also seeking to receive from the Canadian authorities the file containing the “concrete and verifiable acts” that have been levied against him.

Since November 2022, Canada has imposed sanctions against more than 20 Haitian citizens, whom it describes as the country’s “political and economic elite”, for their role in supporting criminal activities and by armed gangs.