Donville Inniss, a former member of the Parliament of Barbados, was charged on Tuesday with conspiracy to launder money and money laundering in federal court in Brooklyn, New York.
These charges are a result of Inniss’s alleged acceptance of bribes from a Barbadian insurance company in 2015 and 2016. Inniss allegedly received the bribes when he was a public official.
Inniss was arrested last Friday and was arraigned Tuesday before a United States magistrate in the Middle District of Florida at the federal courthouse in Tampa, Florida. Shortly thereafter, Inniss was released on $50,000 bond.
According to the indictment, between August 2015 and April 2016, Inniss engaged in a scheme to accept approximately $36,000 in bribes from high-level executives of an insurance company headquartered in Barbados. After receiving the bribes, Inniss allegedly laundered the money in the United States.
In exchange for the bribes, Inniss leveraged his position as the Minister of Industry to enable the Barbados insurance company to obtain two key government contracts. Inniss obscured the bribes by organizing to receive them through a dental company and a bank located in Long Island, New York.
The Barbados company’s executives transferred the funds to the dental company using an invoice falsely claiming that the payments were for consulting services.
During the time of the charged conspiracy, Inniss was a legal permanent resident of the United States residing in both Tampa and Barbados. Based on his citizen status, Inniss fell under the purview and jurisdiction of U.S. Federal Law and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“As charged in the indictment, Inniss abused his position of trust as a government official by taking bribes from a Barbadian company, then laundered the illicit funds through a bank and a dental company located in the Eastern District of New York,” United States Attorney Richard Donoghue said. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable corrupt government officials here or abroad who use the U.S. financial system to facilitate their criminal conduct.”
“Donville Inniss allegedly used the U.S. financial system to launder bribes he received while serving as a government official in Barbados,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “These charges demonstrate the commitment of the department and our law enforcement partners to hold accountable anyone who seeks to use our financial system to promote or launder the corrupt proceeds of their crimes.”