Last update: 08-Dec-2013 4:55 am
Sunday, December 08, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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ILP official in Luxury car racket
A high-ranking member of the Independent Liberal Party (ILP) has been named as the critical link in an ongoing United Kingdom police investigation into stolen luxury vehicles. Deputy political leader of the ILP, Anna Deonarine-Rampersad stands as the key figure to help police, both local and abroad, unlock a multi-million dollar luxury car racket.
However, although she has been closely linked to the international broker at the centre of the investigation, to date Deonarine-Rampersad has failed to provide police with the relevant information and this has stalled the investigative process. This latest information comes just days before the heavily contested local government elections and just days after one ILP local government candidate, Kerwin Bucchan, was granted $.25 million bail for a gun-related charge.
According to a police file seen by the Sunday Guardian, investigators have tried unsuccessfully for the past two years to get Deonarine-Rampersad to provide transaction details from when she purchased a vehicle from the UK-based broker. The police file contains an invoice between the UK-based broker and a company where Deonarine-Rampersad is listed as a director for the purchase of a black Range Rover Sport.
Police said Deonarine-Rampersad failed to provide any documents either prove ownership of the vehicle or to assist with the investigation.
Deonarine: I am the victim
“I spoke with her on several occasions but she never gave any documents and stated that they were with her lawyer,” an investigator wrote in the signed report. An addendum further stated that Deonarine-Rampersad was “interviewed by the investigators however she did not supply any documents for the vehicle and she declined from giving a statement”. The report went on to say that at the licensing office, there was no documentation for the vehicle.
The broker, who is named in the file, has been fingered by Metropolitan Police and Interpol as being involved in several high-end vehicles stolen in the UK, shipped and cleared with false documents and resold in Trinidad. The police report states that the man has since “gone into hiding” in the UK and is the subject of investigation by both the Metropolitan Police and Interpol.
To further complicate the matter, police investigations uncovered that the documents logged with both the licensing office and customs and excise were “falsified”.
Black and White:
According to the investigators’ file, police attached to the Central Investigations Department (CID) discovered that back in 2009 a company that Deonarine-Rampersad is closely affiliated with purchased a black Range Rover from that same individual at a cost of 24,000 GBP. The vehicle was purchased for commercial use in early 2009 and carried a total on-the-road value of TT$225,128.56. That vehicle belonged to UK-based Lombard Vehicle Management and was stolen in December 2008.
By 2011, according to the police file, the now white Range Rover, licensed locally as PCM 1100, was in the possession of Deonarine-Rampersad. Investigations into the luxury vehicle racket have stalled as, according to the police report, Deonarine-Rampersad failed to provide any information on the broker. Deonarine-Rampersad, the file said, promised to provide the relevant documents to prove ownership of the vehicle, but that did not materialise.
By January 2013, the documents were still not provided to the police and an additional signed note attached to the file stated that yet again “the person from whom the vehicle was seized declined to say anything about the vehicle. I cannot go any further with this investigation”. Police also found that the documents obtained on the vehicle from the Licencing Department were “falsified” and were never “certified or stamped” by the Customs Department.
The police file noted that Deonarine-Rampersad is listed as a director of the company that purchased the black Range Rover from the same man who the police are searching for in relation to the racket. Several documents in the police file directly link Deonarine-Rampersad to the UK-based broker who is the subject of the investigation. The Metropolitan Police, in a letter contained in the police file, said a number of “high-value” vehicles have been stolen and shipped to T&T and that black Range Rover was among them.
One small difference
According to a second police file, a similar incident occurred in November 2011 when a local man purchased a stolen BMW, PCM 320 from the same sole trader. The difference in this case was that there was no direct contact between this buyer and the broker allegedly involved in the luxury car racket.
This vehicle also did not have any relevant shipping documents or certified copy but, unlike Deonarine-Rampersad’s case, there was no immediate link between the broker and the buyer. This has been highlighted by the police as key to uncovering the whereabouts of the now missing broker.
Failure to Communicate
Deonarine-Rampersad, in a telephone interview yesterday, acknowledged ownership of the vehicle, PCM 1100. She denied that she has been deliberately thwarting to investigation by not providing the relevant documents. “I am the victim in this situation,” she said.
Deonarine-Rampersad blames this problem on the police failure to provide any documents to her when the vehicle was seized two years ago and said she has been writing to both the Attorney General’s office and the Police Complaints Authority to get justice.
“If you did not tell me about the Metropolitan Police being involved, I would not have known. I was not aware they needed the documents because the local police never asked for anything in writing which is what I have been asking for all along.” “To date, not a scrap of paper has been produced even as a receipt that they took my vehicle,” she said. Deonarine-Rampersad also denied shipping the vehicle into this country. This is despite the fact that the shipping documents are contained in the police file.
She says before her entry into political life, this would not have been a pubic issue and questioned the timing of the discovery. “This is because I am giving the Caroni workers a voice but they will not deter me in any way,” she said but did not specify who “they” were.
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