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Another Ashcroft Attempt to Enforce Arbitration Award

Looming over Belize is the twenty seven point four million US dollar arbitral award that was initially issued to BCB Holdings Limited and the Belize Bank Limited.  It is an award whose enforcement is long being sought via the United States.  Since the confirmation of the award, the Ashcroft companies assigned it to an entity in Turks and Caicos which is now asking a DC Federal Judge to substitute Midway Investments Limited as the recipient in order for them to move forward with having the order enforced in the US.  According to a LAW360 publication, Midway Investments Limited went into an agreement with BCB Holdings and Belize Bank Limited in June in which it was agreed that their interest would be handed over to Midway; an interest that amounts to about four point eight million US dollars.  The Government of Belize opposed the motion earlier this month on the grounds that it would evade the jurisdiction of Belize’s courts and its legislature.  Several months ago, the Belize Supreme Court had prohibited BCB Holdings from enforcing the award via a temporary injunction while laws were passed to criminalize efforts made to enforce foreign judgements against Belize.  The injunction was lifted eventually but the law remains.  On Wednesday, August 9, Midway Investments noted to the DC Federal Court that the only way that Midway, the real party in interest can enforce the judgement is to grant the substitution as they are requesting.  He added that the Government of Belize had indicated that it will look into reinstating the Belize anti-enforcement injunction to be used against petitioners in order to prevent reinforcements.  Belize claimed in its opposition last month that if Midway is recognized as the owner of the judgment, it will not be subject to the jurisdiction of the Belizean courts, since it is registered in Turks and Caicos despite its ties to BCB and a subsidiary of Caribbean Investment Holdings Ltd.  This award stems from the favourable tax treatment that was given to the two Ashcroft companies under the Said Musa administration.  In the LAW360 article it noted that on the eve of the handing over of the award to Midway Investments there was a corporate restructuring, viewed as being done to merely address the arbitral award since this is the sole asset of Midway.  It is anticipated that once collection is done it would be divided among shareholders of Caribbean Investment Holdings formerly BCB Holdings.