BRIDGETOWN, Barbados — A report by the Barbados Free Press on November 4, 2013, published the full text of what purports to be a complaint filed with the FBI by Sherene Mongroo in relation to the alleged theft of US$4 million from her late father’s estate, and names 12 Caribbean individuals and other entities, including financial institutions and a Barbados law firm, as the alleged perpetrators.
One of the individuals named in the complaint as published, Hari Narayen ‘Ralph’ Ramkarran, attorney at law and former speaker of the house in Guyana, claimed that the allegations are false and vindictive and are calculated to tarnish the character of anyone associated with the late Yusuf Mongroo or his estate.
“I represent Sasedai Persaud in a court case brought by Sherene Mongroo who is challenging the Last Will and Testament of Yusuf Mongroo. Sasedai Persaud is a beneficiary of the said Will. My only association with this matter is to provide legal services to Ms Persaud.
“Everybody who has been associated with this Will, or the estate of Yusuf Mongroo, is being tarnished in the same way by Ms Mongroo,” Ramkarran said in an emailed statement.
Ramkarran’s claim that his only involvement is to provide legal services to his client is, however, belied by evidence that he entered into a so-called joint venture agreement between Ramkarran himself, his client Sasedai Persaud and another alleged perpetrator Ali Mudeen.
Efforts to contact Barbados attorney at law Malcolm Deane initially proved fruitless as his firm’s website is under construction and the Barbados Bar Association directory entry for Deane lists his partner’s email address and not his.
However, Deane’s partner, Satcha Kissoon, did respond to our inquiry, saying he had forwarded our email to Deane for comment. We subsequently invited Deane to respond directly to us but he has not yet done so.
According to Kissoon, Deane is the only one in his firm that may be in a position of firsthand knowledge to comment on any of these matters.
“As I had indicated, and wish to reiterate and make clear, I had never known about this matter at all until your article and emails. I was never in any meeting with any of the persons named in the matter and had no knowledge of this matter, the parties or any transaction with the firm, until your article and emails. Prior to your article and emails, I did not even know the name Yusuf Mongroo,” he explained.
Kissoon went on to say that he was not even in the office around the time meetings were said to have occurred, since he was in and out on sick leave in September and October 2010 prior to major surgery.
An assertion that Kissoon participated briefly in a meeting with Deane and one of the other alleged perpetrators is said to be case of mistaken identity and, according to Kissoon, it was his partner Bryan Weekes who was briefly introduced to the individuals by Deane but he (Weekes) did not remain in the meeting.
“The reference to me at all was clearly a mistake,” Kissoon said.
None of the other individuals and entities named in the reported complaint responded to requests for comment.
In a related development, a complaint is also believed to have been filed with the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP), which has wide investigative and enforcement powers over banks receiving bailout money from the US federal government, one of which is JP Morgan Chase, through which the allegedly stolen funds were transferred.
However, in response to our inquiry, Troy D. Gravitt, director of communications at SIGTARP, declined to comment.
“As a policy, we decline commenting about any actual, potential, or otherwise investigations-related activity. To be clear, this is meant neither to confirm nor deny any investigations-related activity; we simply decline to comment,” he said in an emailed response.