Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"I did nothing wrong," Duprey says in witness statement

File: Lawrence Duprey: "(I am) a hardworking and dedicated citizen"
The failure of Lawrence Duprey's CL Financial (CLF) has cost the taxpayers of Trinidad & Tobago about $21 billion dollars to date but Duprey has said he did nothing wrong.

That's the view he expressed in a witness statement to the CLICO/HCU inquiry in which he has described himself as "a hardworking and dedicated citizen who worked hard to create wealth for all and was instrumental in the creation of thousands of jobs".

The former executive chairman of CLF Duprey also denied that he acted as if company was his "personal kingdom" and that it was a "one-man show' .

According to the statement reported in the Express newspaper Duprey said, "At all times, I sought the best interests of the company so that the benefits derived would redound to the policyholders, shareholders and employees...

"The global collapse coinciding with an ever impossible revamp of the regulatory framework and a refusal of government-owned entities to back the Group, after all the years of benefit that they had received from the interest income that the Group had generated, led to the need for some ultimate government support. 

"I would have preferred ... if the intervention had not been so politically motivated and had been directed at protection for I believe, had that been the position we would have fared a great deal better."

Duprey added, "I was firmly of the view in January 2009 that the run on CIB and the resultant liquidity or cash-flow issues were much inspired by the decision of State-owned and run entities making decisions at or about the same time to withdraw rolling deposits which had been previously rolled over from maturity to maturity without question. The decision to seek the funds back came in reality out of the blue and caused severe problems."

According to the express, Duprey also provided excuses for deficiencies in the witness statement. These are some of the factors cited in the Express report:

  • The lack of access to material
  • At 78 years of age and does have the detailed recollection that he used to of events and people he once did
  • He now resides outside of Trinidad and Tobago "in the main as a consequence of the vilification I have been subject to and the fear of my family for their and my safety"
  • His health is not as robust as it used to be and he is not able to spend hours concentrating without becoming tired and forgetful. "This has been a life-changing and very shocking period for me since January 2009 and I have taken it all very badly
The Express said Duprey also challenged a statement by former group financial director, Michael Carballo, that he was the sole decision maker. He said decisions were made by consensus.

Duprey also denied that fees were excessive and were in keeping with the standard at other large conglomerates.

Evidence at the inquiry shows that Duprey's annual income was around $90 million, which was paid by policy holders. In addition he received multi-million dollar consultancy fees.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai