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DPM caught up in $20M fraud lawsuit

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest has been accused of fraud and a “bogus scam” in a writ filed against Captain Randy Butler and Sky Bahamas, where Turnquest served as chairman and partner.

Alpha Aviation Limited and Advanced Aviation Limited, which Turnquest was a director of, are listed as the First and Second Plaintiffs while Butler, Sky Bahamas and Aviation Oversight Group Limited are listed the First Defendant, Second Defendant and Third Defendant respectively.

The writ is dated November 16, 2020.

According to the writ, “Between 2008 and 2017, the first, second and third defendants along with Turnquest, wrongfully and with intent to injure each Plaintiff and/or to cause loss to them by unlawful means and/or to enrich themselves, unlawfully conspired and combined together to defraud each Plaintiff and to conceal such fraud and the proceeds of such fraud from the Plaintiffs and thereby unjustly to enrich themselves.”

The writ was filed by Scott and Co, the law firm of Bahamas Hotel Corporation Chairman Michael Scott, who became a Queen's Counsel under the Minnis Administration. Scott is also chairman of Lucayan Renewal Holdings, the special purpose vehicle formed to facilitate the sale of Grand Lucayan Resort on Grand Bahama.

Though Scott, an influential Free National Movement supporter, names Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest frequently in the writ, Turnquest is not named as a defendant.

The lawsuit further alleges that, "As at 31 December, 2017, the conspirators had dishonestly caused Alpha to pay away a total of $20,680,337.33 to Sky Bahamas as, in each case, some kind of bogus loan."

They are also accused of dishonestly causing Advanced Aviation to send wire transfers totalling over $5 million to Sky Bahamas, causing Alpha to pay over $3 million to them via a company managed by Aviation Oversight (the third defendant) and using 39 fraudulent invoices and book entries to persuade Alpha to issue 37 cheques totalling $3.8 million to Sky Bahamas and Aviation Oversight between February 2008 and July 2016.

According to the writ, Turnquest and Butler "failed to keep or ensure that the companies kept any financial books of account or financial records".

The defendants were given 14 days to meet at Scott’s Old Fort Bay Office and deliver their defense of the allegations.

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