Astaphan-ONDCP co-op scrubbed, lawyer hired anyway

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Anthony Astaphan will no longer “assist” the Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) as the agency investigates the Odebrecht-Meinl Bank scandal.
It seems that following a meeting with ONDCP Director Lieutenant Colonel Edward Croft on Wednesday, the Cabinet fully reversed itself, and has now restricted Astaphan to compiling a report on his own.
The new position is that the ONDCP, which has been probing aspects of the Odebrecht-Meinl Bank scandal since 2016, will continue with its work unhindered by the attorney, whose new task is to compile a “fact based chronological report” on the events of the scandal for the Cabinet.
Minister of Information Melford Nicholas said the purpose of this report was in some measure to identify where there may be “inherent weaknesses” in the offshore banking regulatory framework and where there may have been “breaches of our regulations.”
Speaking at Thursday’s post-Cabinet press conference, Nicholas said the Cabinet would use Astaphan’s report to find ways to strengthen the governance of the offshore sector.
The main opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) yesterday said it “rejects the Astaphan cabinet advisory on Odebrecht” as an attempt at “avoiding a full public inquiry.”
The party renewed its call for the same.
The Gaston Browne administration has steadfastly rejected repeated calls for a public inquiry into the scandal, in which the Meinl Bank in Antigua and Barbuda was reportedly used as a hub for a Brazilian company – Odebrecht – to pay hundreds of millions in bribes worldwide.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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