RESPONDING to accusations of defrauding 88-year-old US citizen Neville Piper of a high-rise condominium in Manhattan, New York, Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon yesterday said he and Piper are close friends. He said their friendship spans more than 45 years and it was for this reason he was given the property as a gift.
Speaking yesterday after a press conference on the Fused Response bilateral exercise with the US, Dillon said Piper insisted that he accept the property as a gift and denied reports that he coerced Piper into signing over his lavish condominium.
He explained the discord arose when Piper’s niece brought the matter before the New York Supreme court, asking to be appointed Piper’s guardian.
Dillon said the accusations of fraudulent transactions were unfounded and he was optimistic the matter would be resolved within the shortest possible time.
Asked why he did not come forward to make it public sooner, Dillon said he felt the matter was a personal one which should have been left out of the public domain. “My good name is all that I have,” Dillon said. “I wish to inform you that I have never been charged, nor am I now charged with any wrongdoing in any court. “Piper is Trinidadian born and bred. He grew up in La Brea, but later migrated to New York. He and my parents were very close friends and we would often visit each other’s home. When he came to Trinidad, I used to drive him around so we are very close. In fact, if you visit his family’s home in La Brea, you will see pictures of myself all over his house. I call him almost every day, because he likes to talk about politics.” Dillon added that he had told Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley of the issue, but refused to elaborate on what was discussed. Addressing calls for his resignation, he said there was no evidence to support the accusations and, until such time as he is committed to stand trial, he has no intention of resigning.
Asked if he was concerned that his colleagues and the public would maintain faith in his ability to continue as National Security Minister, Dillon said he was confident that his track record “spoke for itself.”
Questions were also raised about Dillon’s US attorneys, who argued that transfers of money made for the condominium were for the payment of bills. However, Dillon said he was not aware of any such arguments and refused to confirm whether he had received money from Piper’s bank account, as indicated by records subpoenaed by the court.
Responding to a question posed by Opposition MP Roodal Moonilal during yesterday’s Parliament sitting, Dillon confirmed that he is expected to return to New York on April 4 for the next court hearing.
Responding to accusations of defrauding an incapacitated 88-year-old man of a high-rise condominium in Manhattan, New York, Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon yesterday claimed that he is close friends with the man.
Dillon also claims both share a close friendship spanning more than 45 years and says it was this reason why he was given the property.
Speaking after a press conference for the Fused Response bilateral exercise with the US government this morning, Dillon said that he was given the property by Neville Piper who he claims is a close family friend and explained the property was procured through legal means.
Addressing calls for his resignation, Dillon said he was not going anywhere as there was no evidence to substantiate accusations made by Piper or his niece, who brought the matter before the New York Supreme Court.