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Friday, November 17 2017 @ 03:31 PM AST

Duprey: Govt wasn't acting to protect taxpayers

The following is the full statement yesterday from former CL Financial/CLICO boss Lawrence Duprey, in response to Trinidad & Tobago Finance Minister Colm Imbert saying he acted to protect taxpayers:

Minister Imbert says that the government is protecting taxpayers by seeking to wind up CL Financial (CLF). If they wanted to do that they would have let CLF repay CLICOís debts years ago. The country would have been better off without this money outstanding. The company would have been better off returning to generating more foreign exchange and profits than any other local company outside of the state sector. The government were only given control of CLF in order to ensure that debts owed by CLICO were repaid. They seem to have moved on to assuming ownership.

They, the government could have worked with CLF shareholders over the years to firstly protect the value of CLF and CLICO for the national good, and secondly to steadily pay back the amounts outstanding over a period of not more than five years. Instead they rode roughshod over the rights of taxpayers, policyholders and shareholders. To support that, they have refused to disclose any meaningful financial data, even to the companyís ultimate owners. What have they got to hide? Why canít we find out how this vast sum of money has been spent?

The attempt to shut down CLF, and ultimately CLICO is not about protecting taxpayers in the slightest. Instead, it is a continuation on of the unlawful control of CLF and CLICO and a spiteful decision to destroy them rather that seeing taxpayers and policyholders repaid and shareholders having their very valuable company returned.

Not only must we all stand and fight for the rights of taxpayers and shareholders. We should also remember that the legal basis for this entire exercise was the protection of policyholders and depositors on the one hand, and elimination of the risk of contagion in the economy on the other.

This action by the government goes directly against that.

Shareholders now have common cause with taxpayers and policyholders in blocking this desperate act by the government. Despite any personal differences, we must all now support any action that parties take to truly defend the interests of taxpayers.

Iím already speaking with representatives of all affected groups and look forward to assisting in any tangible way that I can.

Lawrence Duprey
Majority Shareholder CLF


Financial Consultant and former Citibank Vice President Ved Seereeram said: "Since the shareholders (Duprey and others) are saying they have the capacity to repay the Government, call on them to bring a cheque. If these fellows are willing to pay back the Government, call on them immediately to bring a cheque. Don't wait."

He said the legal battle would only incur more costs to taxpayers in legal fees from a long drawn-out legal process.


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