The Bank of Americas has pulled the plug on two banks in Belize, namely the Belize Bank International and the Atlantic Bank International. Atlantic International is a bank with only foreign customers, used to offer wire transfers, USD bank drafts and foreign currency to the US through Bank of America, who had a corresponding Banking relationship with them. But 11 days ago, Bank of American ended that relationship. Bank of America also had corresponding relationships with Belize Bank International and it terminated that relationship as well. The Prime Minister said that it was unfortunate but that it was beyond them. The banks as the Prime Minister stated are going through a process of de-risking and small jurisdictions like Belize are feeling the pinch. In a talk show on Channel 5, former Prime Minister Said Musa had another notion as to why this was happening.
“You see all these things happening with banks being de-risked – that two banks in Belize, two of the major banks in Belize don’t have a corresponding bank in the US anymore. We can’t just wire money like we used to before. You can’t pay for goods like you used to before. You have to go through all kinds of round-about way that takes weeks sometimes. Why is that? It’s because the US government views this jurisdiction contrary to what the Prime Minister is saying, as a major sieve for money laundering. That is what is happening. First of all they see that we’re not doing enough to fight the drug war. And when we talk about the drug war it’s the big money that’s involved with drugs. We’re not doing enough. We’re at the bottom of the list when it comes to human trafficking in persons. And with all these things, and now with this report of being near bankruptcy and all that coming out of Moody’s and all these agencies…all of a sudden now Belize Bank no longer has Bank of America. Atlantic Bank…and you ask yourself how comes these things never happened before? What is going on? Of course the Prime Minister will say it’s nothing to do with us. It’s a different model that they are adopting now, that is why. That is nonsense.”