MIAMI, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — When a decision was handed down last week from the Supreme Court of Bermuda confirming
long-standing allegations of tax fraud against the key owners of the Pollo Campero restaurant chain and other businesses, observers in the media likely were confused to read that the defendants were declaring the ruling a “victory.”
“For the defendants to celebrate their defeat like a victory just adds insult to injury — it’s difficult to think of many other businesses that would boast when one company escapes liability for fraud, while their core business division, in this case Corporacion Multi-Inversiones, is acknowledged to be the controlling mind behind such practices,” said Robert Amsterdam, lawyer to LISA, S.A., the plaintiff in a series of legal actions against companies controlled by Juan Luis Bosch and Dionisio Gutierrez Mayorga, two of Central America’s most wealthy and powerful businessmen. “It seems clear that even once their abusive practices were exposed before the law, they continue their pattern of deception in the public sphere with misleading and distorted statements to the media.”
For example, in a press release dated Sept. 10, 2008, the Bosch-Gutierrez team continued promoting factual inaccuracies intended to deflect attention away from enormously important issues of public interest not just in Guatemala, but for much of Latin America and in the United States. Some of the inaccuracies include the following:
— The defendants seek to minimize the court’s finding of liability for fraud by repeatedly emphasizing that the nearly $2 million in awarded damages is smaller than an initial offer in 1998 and a pre-trial settlement offer. This is incorrect. The fact is that the judge’s decision includes prejudgment interest penalties of approximately $1.8 million plus costs and attorneys fees (to be determined at a future hearing).
— The defense has spread misleading statements to media outlets in an attempt to argue that the plaintiff failed to prove that the Avicola Group used secret, off-the-book ledgers for sales of live chicken, manure and oranges. This is resolutely false. Judge Ian Kawaley writes in the ruling that executives representing Bosch-Gutierrez “clearly admitted in a meeting which was secretly recorded that a substantial portion of the income generated by the Avicola Group, in particular cash generated from the sale of live chickens, chicken manure and oranges was kept off the books and used to fund distributions to shareholders.”
— The clear goal of the defendant’s attempts to misinform the public about the Bermuda ruling is reflected by their repeated statements that the Court “rejects” allegations of fraud against Avicola Villalobos, one of the umbrella companies in the Avicola Group. At no point in the decision does the judge declare that fraud is not occurring at this company. The ruling addressed which company is the actual controlling mind of the scam. Judge Kawaley writes that “This constellation of facts not only illustrates why the best available evidence strongly points to Multi-Inversiones (and not AVSA) being viewed as the corporate entity which controlled Leamington.”
To present the decision of an exoneration of any kind is outrageously misleading, say the lawyers for the plaintiff. The identification by the judge of Corporacion Multi-Inversiones as the controlling mind of the fraud is very important in terms of thrusting the corrupt, public face of this business conglomerate into the public eye.
“For almost ten years we have seen these defendants adroitly misdirect attention to escape the difficult questions regarding these serious allegations, such as why they refused to allow their expert witnesses to be cross-examined, why their admission of multiple accounting systems contradicts potentially manipulated audits from the Public Ministry, or even why they are twisting liability into innocence,” said Juan Rodriguez, counsel to the plaintiff. “They have one goal above all, which is to discourage media coverage at all costs. There is only one party in this dispute afraid of the facts. I welcome all interested to carefully review the documents to understand the duplicity of these immensely powerful men.”
For more information on this case, including copies of the court complaints and judgments, please at http://www.casogutierrez.com or email James Kimer at James.firstname.lastname@example.org,