PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Minister of Legal Affairs Prakash Ramadhar and Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Rowley say they want to know the name of the government minister whose son is allegedly being investigated by United States law enforcement officials.
"I wait with bated breath for more information on this matter because it is extremely serious and I imagine quite urgent. Having read the article, we are waiting on the foreign authorities' decision as to how they go forward and what is disclosed to us.
"I do not want to comment at this point in time, but rest assured once there is material supporting one way or the other this serious allegation, the COP (Congress of the People) will not remain open to embrace those silent on that matter,” Ramadhar told a news conference.
Rowley told the Trinidad Express newspaper Monday that the minister “should be identified and the public shouldn't be left to speculate.
"It is not fair to be left to speculation against the whole Cabinet... whoever is involved should come forward and identify himself or herself because there is a lot of speculation and rumour, and in the public interest a matter like this should not be left as a speculative manner."
On Sunday, the Trinidad Guardian newspaper reported that its investigation has revealed the minister’s son is under house arrest in the US and is also assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with their investigations.
The paper said that US authorities have already signalled their intention to interview the minister, who they say will assist greatly in their investigations.
The paper said that the minister’s son was held in December last year when he arrived in the US and that “only the officers dealing with the matter are aware of what is taking place”.
The Trinidad Guardian newspaper said that “those involved are sworn to secrecy” and that under a sealed indictment, no information about the case goes public until the prosecution is satisfied that all the parties implicated and evidence to support the allegations are before the courts.
The paper said that the case has so far taken investigators to different international jurisdictions and they have already gathered a dossier of financial statements from various countries.
While the newspaper has not publicly identified the minister, it reported that “several calls to the minister’s cell phone and messages left were not returned”.
National Security Minister Austin Jack Warner has been approached on the issue in recent days, but has dared the media to broadcast or publish anything that points in the direction of himself and his family.
The United States Embassy here said “as a matter of long-standing policy we do not comment on, confirm or deny law-enforcement matters”.
Rowley told the Trinidad Express newspaper that if money laundering issues are involved, this could be a matter of public interest.