The Political Leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell has admitted to working for former Honorary Consul Luiz Augusto Franca, who is now one of the key men involved in the Odebrecht scandal, but dismissed the revelation as an irrelevant red herring in the wider scandal facing the country.
Lovell acknowledged the working relationship after Prime Minister Gaston Browne made the revelation in Parliament and questioned what Lovell knows about the scandal. But Lovell hit back and questioned the relevance of the exposé while renewing calls
for an independent public inquiry into the Odebrecht scandal.
Lovell repeated the call yesterday after Browne presented a copy of an invoice dated August 28, 2015 from Lovell to Luiz Augusto Franca of the Meinl Bank Antigua Limited, and a copy of a December 16, 2015 cheque from the bank to Lovell.
The invoice and cheque only showed that Lovell billed Franca for services rendered as an attorney at law. The invoice and cheque relate to the sum of EC $4,657.50 (US $1,725).
Franca was allegedly one of three Brazilians who fronted the purchase of Meinl Bank in 2010 through which US $1.6 billion in bribes was allegedly paid by Brazilian firm, Odebrecht. US prosecutors have also alleged a US $4 million bribe was paid to an intermediary of a high-level government official in Antigua in 2015 in an attempt to have incriminating information withheld from US and Brazilian authorities.
More in today’s Daily Observer.