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Sandals Resort pays $12 million to settle bribery probe

Luxury resort operator Sandals will pay $12 million to the government of the Turks and Caicos to resolve an investigation into bribery and money laundering.

The spa company’s cooperation with U.S. authorities helped lead to the deal last week with the Special Investigation Prosecution Team (SIPT), according to a report by Vanessa Narine of the Turks and Caicos Weekly News Online.

Sandals didn’t admit guilt or liability in reaching the settlement.

The investigations reportedly focused on the transfer of $1.65 million from accounts belonging to Sandals to the Progressive National Party and former Turks and Caicos premier Michael Misick.

The Turks and Caicos is a British protectorate. Corruption in the government led to the U.K. imposing direct rule in 2009.

Misick, the former premier, went on the run in 2009. He was arrested at Rio de Janeiro’s domestic airport in December 2012 and is now facing extradition back to the Turks and Caicos to answer corruption charges.

Jamaican businessman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart operates Sandals. The settlement carried no admission of guilt by him or any other directors or officers of the resort company.

SIPT said it also settled with developer Mario Hoffman and the Salt Cay Development Companies for $7 milion.

And property tycoon Varet ‘Jak’ Civre settled bribery charges for $5 million. 

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Maria Dolores Hernandez J. is a researcher for the ethiXbase.

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