That is almost half of the combined estate of the late Michael Coye and the assets of Money Exchange International Limited, which were frozen when Michael, Melonie, Marlene and Jude Coye along with several associates were charged with money laundering five years ago.
They were acquitted in the Court of Appeal after two trials and two appeals and had expected to have their assets unfrozen and the $1.557 million held by the Government returned. While the latter is almost certain to happen soon, the tax man, Commissioner of Income Tax Kent Clare, wants his cut of the former.
His office conducted three statements on the $6.5 million assets of the family several years ago and determined that they had failed to pay taxes on the income, which was not reported to authorities. When that happens according to the Income and Business Tax Act, half the money is forfeited.
The family and its attorney Arthur Saldivar dispute the assertion and say they will prove they did not owe a dime. But until then, the Income Tax Department continues to pursue what it says it is rightfully owed.