Son surrenders, slapped with more than 200 money laundering charges
A day after his parents were charged for allegedly laundering billions of dollars reportedly for local Chinese businesses, Damien Ramnaraine was on Thursday remanded to prison after facing 232 charges.
The News Room was informed that Ramnaraine surrendered to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Thursday morning. He was accompanied by his lawyer Bernard DaSilva.
A total of 193 of the charges were read to him by Magistrate Sunil Scarce at the Diamond Magistrates’ Court. He also appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts to answer to the remaining charges.
Bail was refused on all charges. The case was adjourned to March 17, 2023.
Ramnaraine was charged jointly with his father, Kenneth Kellawan Ramnaraine, who along with his wife, Yevette Nalini Saroop made their court appearance on Wednesday.
In a statement on Wednesday, SOCU said the charges were laid after close to three years of investigation.
The joint money laundering charges were laid in contravention of 3 (1) (a) of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act Chapter 10:11 contrary to section 3 (6) (a) (ii) of the said act.
Kenneth and Saroop were arrested at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport on Wednesday after they attempted to flee the jurisdiction for USA.
Head of SOCU, Assistant Commissioner Fazil Karimbaksh, in the statement had said reports indicated that the family conducted multiple suspicious transactions at several financial institutions in Guyana, raising concerns that they may be involved in money laundering activities.
He based these suspicions primarily on the large number of unsubstantiated cash deposits made via Kenneth’s business accounts of Ken’s Trading Enterprise.
The sources of funds declarations submitted to several commercial banks show that the majority of the deposits are attributed to sales proceeds from biodegradable food boxes sold to local businesses, in particular, Chinese restaurants.
The Head of SOCU claimed that a substantial number of wire transfers, amounting to over $3.7 billion were sent to 22 companies in China under the pretext of importing raw materials to produce bio-degradable products, while other sums were disguised locally totaling over $4.1 billion.
Karimbaksh said his investigators did not find any legitimate source of these funds which the accused wire transferred out of Guyana. The actions of the accused suggested that they may be operating as nominees for some Chinese businesses and also facilitating tax evasion through Ken’s Trading Enterprise, the SOCU statement noted.
Those businesses that the accused listed on their source of fund declaration forms reportedly “vehemently denied doing such large transactions with them.”
As a result, SOCU conducted several covert and overt investigations and operations over the period, monitoring the suspects and their lifestyles until enough evidence was collected beyond a reasonable doubt.