By Aaron Humes
BELIZE CITY, Fri. May 30th, 2014
Skeptical of the arguments made before her, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Young declined to continue a freezing order made against Melonie and Marlene Coye and their company Money Exchange International Limited.
The ruling allows the Coyes to resume access to their various bank accounts as soon as the order is made available, even as the civil matter continues.
She had previously continued the order on May 5, mere hours after fellow judge Shona Griffith lifted it, pending arguments for an interim injunction asked for by Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman on behalf of Panamanian company Internet Experts S.A., also doing business as Instadollar.
Instadollar is suing the Coye family as former sub-agents of the MoneyGram money exchange service which they helped start in Belize in 2005. The master agent of the service, Omni Networks Limited is also a party to the case.
Internet Experts argues that it had an agreement to provide monies for the start-up of the local MoneyGram operation, with Omni and director Dean Fuller as overall master agent and the Coyes as one of the subagents.
Some US$6 million was transferred, but only a little over 2 million Belize dollars was eventually returned and Instadollar is claiming the rest, about US$4.8 million.
Young stated that Instadollar had not made a good and arguable case for continuing with the order.
She suggested that Internet Experts was on a “fishing expedition” to see who had its missing money and frowned on their use of the court to do so, as they had not linked the family and its business to the direct contact they claimed that they had with them.
The Coyes argued they have had no direct dealings with the Panamanians.
Their money, the legacy of the late Michael Coye from previous business dealings, was the subject of local investigations by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) for alleged money laundering, a case which ended in acquittal at the Court of Appeal in March, at which time the Coyes were to be allowed access to their accounts.
Additionally, she ruled that the continuation of the order was being held over the Coyes’ heads as a ploy to have them settle the case, another poorly thought of tactic, as there was unexplained overtures to the family, including a payment to reportedly help with funeral expenses for the late Michael, who died a few days after being bailed out of prison due to a long-standing medical condition.
The Coyes and their attorney Arthur Saldivar mainly expressed relief at the outcome, which ends a protracted battle over the family’s assets following their release from criminal liability.
Lisa Shoman declined comment pending a meeting with her clients.
Further case management is scheduled for June 19th, 2014.