A WESTMOORINGS businessman linked to the shipping industry in Chaguaramas was granted bail yesterday on 32 charges of money laundering of over $8 million.
Chris Ramsawack, 54, of Schooner Court, appeared before magistrate Kerri Honore-Narine in the Port of Spain Magistrates Court.
He was granted bail with two sureties of $1 million each, to be approved by a clerk of the peace III and has been ordered to surrender his passport and report to the Fraud Squad on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
According to the charges, Ramsawack, general manager of Chris Distributors Ltd, leased two barges, the property of the Chaguaramas Development Authority (CDA) to another company between October 2015 to April 2018, at a cost of US$364,500 and TT$6,132,105.
It is alleged that he leased the barges to a south-based oilfield servicing company for a total of $8 million, but was not authorised to lease them or receive the cash.
Ramsawack was arrested on Sunday after he returned from Miami.
In all, PC Keston Williams charged Ramsawack with 32 charges of money-laundering and one of obtaining TT$6,132,105 and US$364,500 by false representation.
Prosecutors objected to bail on the ground that he could be deemed a flight risk. The magistrate was told police had information Ramsawack had property and a bank account overseas. They also asked the magistrate to use her discretion because of the nature and seriousness of the offences and the strength of the prosecution’s case.
They also said he had pending matter for driving under the influence in 2015, but Ramsawack’s lawyers said that charge had been dismissed.
They said he was the father of five children with strong ties to the community, and asked for reasonable bail to be set.
Since some of the alleged offences took place in San Fernando, the magistrate asked if those matters were to be transferred, but the prosecution said they would have to seek instructions.
Honore-Narine was also told the defence had been furnished with a copy of the information relating to the charges as well as the police report on Ramsawack’s criminal tracing.
The case was adjourned to July 20.
The investigation was led by head of the Fraud Squad Snr Supt Totaram Dookhie and included ASP Kent Ghisyawan, Sgts Samuel and Thomas, legal officer Vinel Bassarath and WPCs Adams and Mohammed.