While United National Congress (UNC) financiers Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson have yet to be tried for their fraud cases in the local courts, the Attorney General's Office is recovering money from civil suits filed by the Government in the United States courts.
The latest recovery from the civil fraud cases involves US$2.75 million (TT$18 million), as well as a painting valued at over TT$600,000.
The civil suits, initiated by the former People's National Movement (PNM) administration, sought to recover some US$100 million which had allegedly been defrauded from the country.
In 2009, the then PNM government said it had already recovered in excess of $250 million in compensation as a result of the civil action in the foreign jurisdiction and restitution from those convicted in the United States for the Piarco International Airport scandal.
The Sunday Express understands that in July 2010, shortly after his appointment, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan was able to conclude the long outstanding negotiations in civil and fraud cases filed in the US arising out of the construction of Piarco Airport.
Ramlogan managed out-of-court settlements pertaining to Eduardo Hillman and Rene de Villegas, who were fingered as co-conspirators with Galbaransingh and Ferguson in fraud cases.
Ramlogan handed over $18 million to former minister of finance Winston Dookeran in September 2010.
The Sunday Express understands that over $1 million represented funds from a judgment in favour of Trinidad and Tobago against a company controlled by Ferguson in Liechtenstein.
That sum represents a first payment in a settlement of US $3.5 million.
This settlement, the Sunday Express learnt, paves the way for further payments from key figures in the Piarco airport scandal as follows:
• US $1.7 million (TT$10.9 million) from the proceeds of the Red Road property (already liquidated but in Miami);
• US $0.7 million (TT$4.5 million) from the proceeds of the Inversiones Lastraval property in Miami;
• US $1.0 million (TT$6.45 million) in proceeds from the Argentum property in Miami;
• US $0.6 million (TT$3.87 million) in proceeds from Ronald Birk;
• US $0.5 million (TT$3.2 million) in proceeds from the Kuei Tung property in Broward County, Florida;
• US $4.5 million (TT$29.02 million) in total possible proceeds.
"These payments were made possible by negotiations initiated under the former administration which Ramlogan concluded.
"It arises out of the multiple cases brought against companies and individuals in the US courts who were implicated in the Piarco fraud case," the Sunday Express was informed.
The Sunday Express was told that as part of the settlement, Ramlogan obtained a precious piece of artwork owned by Raul Gutierrez and Calmaquip.
The painting was completed by artist Fernando Garcia in 1999 and is oil on canvas and is said to bear the inscription "Yaboob 1999".
The painting, originally valued at US$100,000, is currently at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Port of Spain and the Sunday Express understands that arrangements are being made to officially hand it over to the National Museum.
The Sunday Express understands that T&T's case was pleaded as a "civil conspiracy" and alleged that Ferguson and Galbaransingh were co-conspirators in this conspiracy to defraud the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in connection with the building of Piarco International Airport.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Ramlogan said: "I have protected the interests of the State in civil fraud cases out of the Piarco matters. There is a multiplicity of proceedings with (US fraud examiner) Mr Ed Davis from Astigaragga Davis in Miami. We have made extensive progress in these matters as a number of key figures have been forced to pay money to the State and it opens the possibility for further restitution. It strengthens the hand of the State and I intend to pursue it until justice is served."