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Former CLICO Chairman, Leroy Parris, Questioned and Released on Bail

by: - June 25, 2020
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On Tuesday, 11 years after the collapse of CLICO International Life Insurance Company and the loss of millions of dollars in policyholders and investors’ money, its executive chairman Leroy Parris was held for questioning by Barbados police.

The former businessman of No 8 Dayrells Heights, St Michael, was accused of theft in relation to $3.333 million from CLICO International Life Insurance Ltd; conspiring to cheat the Crown by failing to submit income tax returns for the income year ending March 2010; conspiring to defraud CLICO and money laundering.

Police spokesman Acting Inspector Rodney Inniss confirmed to the press that Parris was in custody being questioned in connection with “a matter” under investigation.

Head of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance (BIPA) June Fowler said she was shocked when she learnt about the developments.

Fowler told Barbados TODAY she never thought the former CLICO boss would be called to give account for matters relating to the demise of the insurance company which resulted in her and scores of others losing their hard-earned investment.

“I think it is almost like an anti-climax. After 11 years, it is something that we never expected. But we will wait and see the outcome before we start to celebrate anything,” the BIBA Chairperson stated.

In 2009 after CLICO collapsed, it was placed under Judicial Management with the Judicial Manager taking action to recover $3.3 million paid to Parris via another company.

In 2018 Barbadian policyholders finally saw the back of CLICO.

Resolution Life Assurance Company Ltd (ResLife) later took control of the life insurance portfolio previously held by CLICO International Life.

Since that time, policyholders had been receiving their monies back following a multi-million-dollar Government bailout of CLICO.

In March 2018, the Court of Appeal issued an order unfreezing $4.5 million in assets belonging to the former CLICO boss and his Branlee Consulting Services.

The appeal panel of justices Andrew Burgess, Kay Goodridge and Margaret Reifer, handed down the 61-page judgment.

Parris was in court for the decision, which was immediately welcomed by his legal counsel Hal Gollop, QC, who pointed out to Barbados TODAY that the High Court had earlier refused to unfreeze the funds belonging to the former CLICO International Life chairman.

Justice William Chandler had issued the freeze order in an ex parte hearing on January 27, 2015. The action was filed by CLICO’s judicial manager Deloitte Consulting Limited against Parris and Branlee Consulting Inc.

The claim also named the estate of late Prime Minister David Thompson, represented by his widow, Mara Thompson, the executrix, as a defendant in the matter.

The order stated: “If Leroy Parris [the first defendant] and/or Branlee Consulting Services Inc [the second defendant] fails to comply with the terms of this order, proceedings may be commenced for contempt of court. The first defendant and second defendant may be liable to have an order of sequestration made in respect of his/its or their property, and in the case of Branlee Consulting Services Inc any of your directors may be sent to prison.”

Parris subsequently appealed the High Court decision through his attorneys Gollop and Vernon Smith, QC.

The decision in that matter came amid ongoing payouts to the 15,000 policyholders and investors of CLICO, ending over eight years of pain and suffering by those who had invested their hard-earned money in the Trinidad headquartered life insurance company.

Former CLICO Barbados chairman Leroy Parris flanked by two police officers on his way to Magistrates’ Court on June 24, 2020. (Picture by Jameel Springer)

Parris was released on $1.5 million bail on Wednesday.

He was also ordered to report to the Glebe Police Station in St George and surrender his passport.

He is represented by Queen’s Counsel Hal Gollop, Michael Yearwood and Michael Lashley and attorney Neil Marshall.

Parris has to report to the Glebe Police Station every Monday and Friday and is scheduled to reappear in court on November 19, 2020.

[ANNSVG/Nation News]