Former Member of Barbados Parliament and Minister of Industry Charged with Laundering Bribes from Barbadian Insurance Company
The former Minister of Industry of Barbados was arrested Friday and had his initial court appearance today in connection with an indictment charging him with laundering bribes that he allegedly received from a Barbadian insurance company in exchange for official actions he took to secure government contracts for the insurance company.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York and Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI New York Field Office made the announcement.
Donville Inniss, 52, a U.S. legal permanent resident who resided in Tampa, Florida, and Barbados, was charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to launder money and two counts of money laundering. The indictment was returned under seal by a federal grand jury sitting in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15.
“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 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.”
“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,” said U.S. Attorney Donoghue. “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.”
The indictment alleges that in 2015 and 2016, Inniss took part in a scheme to launder into the United States approximately $36,000 in bribes that he received from high-level executives of a Barbadian insurance company. At the time, Inniss was a member of the Parliament of Barbados and the Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce, and Small Business Development of Barbados. In exchange for the bribes, Inniss leveraged his position as the Minister of Industry to enable the Barbadian insurance company to obtain two government contracts. To conceal the bribes, Inniss arranged to receive them through a U.S. bank account in the name of a dental company, which had an address in Elmont, New York.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI’s New York Field Office is investigating the case. In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption.
Trial Attorney Gerald M. Moody Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sylvia Shweder of the Eastern District of New York are prosecuting the case. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter.
The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is responsible for investigating and prosecuting all Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) matters. Additional information about the department’s FCPA enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/fcpa.