Ponzi Scheme: Police found no evidence of illegal activity during previous probe – DPP

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L-R: DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack and Yuri Garcia-Dominguez

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, has defended her role in clearing the Cuban national at the center of a suspected multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme, saying that the police failed to present any evidence of illegal activities to her when they sought her legal advice on the matter in 2019.

The DPP Chambers on Wednesday in a statement admitted that the police did send Ali-Hack a file last year, seeking her advice on how to treat with Cuban national Yuri Garcia-Dominguez, who was at the time seeking naturalisation at the Ministry of the Citizenship.

At the time, Dominguez was in the cross hairs of the Guyana Securities Council (GSC), which had written to then Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix warning him that the Cuban national was involved in suspected illegal activities through his firm Accelerated Wealth Incorporated.

The police file, the DDP’s statement said, was first received in November 2019, and based on the statements contained therein, the file was returned to the Guyana Police Force for further investigations on the immigration status of Yuri Dominguez. It further stated that after the further investigations were completed, the file was to be returned to the DPP’s Office for further legal advice.

Ali-Hack noted that when the police did return the file to the DPP Chambers in April 2020, it was without any evidence of Dominguez’s supposed illegality.

The DPP therefore laid responsibility for the legal advice that was eventually provided at the feet of the police force, which was at the time headed by Police Commissioner Leslie James.

“This was done and the file returned to these Chambers in February 2020; legal advice was given based on the information contained in the statements. We herein state categorically, the statements in the police file did not disclose that Mr. Garcia was involved in any unlawful activities,” the DPP said.

“The complaint which sparked the investigation was made through an anonymous report and based on the investigations conducted by the police, there was no evidence of the commission of any offence by Yuri Garcia Dominguez.”

The DPP’s response comes after Felix, under criticism for granting Dominguez his citizenship even after the GSC warned him, released a statement in which he claimed to have gotten clearance from the police, who in turn received clearance from the DPP.

Dominguez and his wife Ateeka Ishmael ran the company Accelerated Capital Firm Incorporated (ACFI), where they enrolled thousands of Guyanese citizens in an alleged Ponzi Scheme where ACFI claims that it uses a foreign exchange platform to trade.

The pair were arrested on Thursday last by police, who are currently investigating his company. Social media has been flooded by complaints from persons who invested money with the couple and never got back their capital, much less the profits.

The company has since claimed that it has the money ready to refund investors and had asked, among other things, to be allowed to reopen a bank account to issue the reimbursements.

As such, Attorney General Anil Nandlall has offered to facilitate the reopening of an account at a local bank, so that customers can be repaid.