By NAN Contributor
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY., Tues. Aug. 7, 2018: U.S. federal authorities on Monday charged a former Caribbean minister of government with laundering bribes from an insurance company in his homeland.
Donville O’Neil Inniss, the former Minister of Industry of Barbados in the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) government, appeared in a Tampa Court Monday to answer charges that he laundered bribes that he allegedly received from a Barbadian insurance company in exchange for official actions he took to secure government contracts for the insurance company.
Iniss, 52, a U.S. legal permanent resident who resided in Tampa, Florida, and Barbados was arrested Friday. He has been charged with one count of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of money laundering.
The indictment alleges that in 2015 and 2016, Inniss took part in a scheme to launder into the United States approximately $36,000 in bribes that he received from high-level executives of a Barbadian insurance company.
At the time, Inniss was a member of the Parliament of Barbados and the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce, and Small Business Development of Barbados.
In exchange for the bribes, Inniss allegedly leveraged his position as the Minister of Industry to enable the Barbadian insurance company to obtain two government contracts. To conceal the bribes, Inniss is accused of arranging to receive them through a U.S. bank account in the name of a dental company, which had an address in Elmont, New York.
“Donville Inniss allegedly used the U.S. financial system to launder bribes he received while serving as a government official in Barbados,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “These charges demonstrate the commitment of the Department and our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who seeks to use our financial system to promote or launder the corrupt proceeds of their crimes.”
“As charged in the indictment, Inniss abused his position of trust as a government official by taking bribes from a Barbadian company, then laundered the illicit funds through a bank and a dental company located in the Eastern District of New York,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable corrupt government officials here or abroad who use the U.S. financial system to facilitate their criminal conduct.”
Inniss represented St. James South in Barbados. According to his bio, he is a graduate of St. Catherine’s Primary School, Harrison College, The Barbados Community College and the University of the West Indies. For several years he has worked as an entrepreneur who owned a management company specializing in international business and was also an investor in several real-estate projects and small businesses before becoming minister.
He became a cabinet minister in 2008 and served in the portfolios of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Health and Industry as well as International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development.
Inniss’ bio said he rose “from humble beginnings to become a successful business man and a dynamic leader in Barbados.”