By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
LAWYERS for sacked First Caribbean International (FCIB) banker, Paul Major, yesterday alleged bank directors lined him up as the “scapegoat” for the blunder that allowed disgraced FIFA executive Charles Blazer to use a local account to misappropriate a reported $15m belonging to FIFA.
Krystal Rolle, Major’s lead attorney, yesterday challenged FCIB Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen on the bank’s decision to forgo divesting itself of Blazer’s account once it became clear he used the account to carry out illicit activities; a notion Rodland-Allen claimed was incorrect.
Rather, Rodland-Allen, during cross-examination by Mrs Rolle, insisted the discovery of Blazer’s activities led to a wide-ranging investigation and review process by FCIB.
She said this review, which was commenced back in 2011 after Blazer’s name and FCIB accounting information was disclosed in several international reports, included, but was not limited to, the completion of an integrity report.
She said the report would have made specific observations of Blazer’s dealings with the bank, while also outlining how the company should move forward with his account.
However, she maintained she was unaware of what those observations and determinations were.
She also insisted these factors played no part in the decision to fire Mr Major in 2015, arguing the dismissal occurred because Major violated FCIB’s US Person’s Policy, namely Section 4, which barred all bank employees from conducting banking services on US soil.
Rodland-Allen contended that Major violated a host of international policies, while also leaving the bank exposed to very serious violations relative to both local and foreign regulators.
She asserted that if left unchecked, the bank ran the risk of having its banking licences affected long term.
The responses led Mrs Rolle to question the length of time between the date the bank became aware of potential wrongdoing by Blazer and the date Major was terminated by FCIB.
Mrs Rolle suggested if the bank was as exposed as Redland-Allen alleged, more deliberate steps would have been taken to divest Blazer’s account and terminate Major.
However, according to Mrs Rolle, the bank took action to identify aspects of various policies utilised by the bank to draft and implement its 2014 US Person’s Policy.
Rodland-Allen and attorneys for FCIB have maintained the policy was first enacted in 2005, with 2014 only featuring minor updates and a widening of the policy’s scope.
Mrs Rolle charged that the bank generated a plan to make Major the scapegoat to prevent any further backlash.
To aid her claim, Mrs Rolle laid out the period of time from May 20, 2015, to June 2, 2015. She suggested the unsealing of a US indictment of Mr Blazer on May 20, forced FCIB to hold meetings in which it was determined an investigation needed to be held to verify the scope of what had occurred with Blazer’s account.
This was followed by a June 1, 2015, Tribune article which analysed the unsealed indictment, and reported a bank employee had carried out business on US soil.
Finally, Mrs Rolle said with all of these factors in motion, the bank moved to fire Major on June 2, 2015, to shield itself from any and all wrongdoing in the case.
Rodland-Allen denied this, maintaining Major’s firing occurred because of his violation of the longstanding US Person’s Policy.
Attorney Ferron Bethel represents FCIB in the proceedings.