It has been suggested in many quarters that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is not engaged in investigating the SSL scandal which saw Usain Bolt defrauded of US$12 million.
The Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke and crime fighting authorities in Jamaica are letting it be known that nothing is further from the truth and that the FBI is part of ongoing investigations into this matter.
To this end, Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) put out a joint statement which reads:
“The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (CTOC) and the Financial Investigations Division (FID) of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service have taken note of recent comments in the public domain that have raised questions about the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the ongoing fraud investigation at SSL.
“The statements suggest that there is a discrepancy between the public pronouncements of the Minister of Finance, the FID and CTOC regarding the involvement of the FBI in the probe. There is no discrepancy in this matter.
“As has been stated by the Minister of Finance and the Chief Technical Director of the FID; the FBI has been officially engaged in the SSL case since January 2023.
“On Friday, February 17, 2023 the Head of CTOC held a press briefing in respect to the arrest and charge of Jean-Ann Panton for fraud, where he is quoted as saying the FBI was not involved. However, he was referring specifically to the local aspects of the Fraud Squad investigation that led to the initial charges against Ms Panton, and not to the wider dimensions of the SSL probe. We apologise for any misunderstanding that may have been caused in this matter.
“It has been outlined in previous joint releases by FID and CTOC that this case is a complex one because of the length of time, the number of transactions and the number of accounts involved. We are already seeing the benefit of engaging and involving the FBI, as the extent of the case becomes clearer. There are elements of the case that cross into other jurisdictions and elements that will require detailed forensic auditing.
“The investigation is being jointly conducted by FID, CTOC, with continuing support from the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) and the FBI and will continue.
“Once again, we would like to emphasise that all investigative steps are being taken and all investigative tools and regulatory protocols are being applied to this case. We continue to assure the public that the work to unravel this fraud will be thorough with a view to identifying all connected parties and bringing them to justice.”