MANHATTAN (CN) - The Republic of Seychelles and its Financial Intelligence Unit conspired with Barclays Bank, and "commandeered the world's financial system and ransacked the bank accounts of legitimate businesses and law-abiding citizens," two businesses claim in Federal Court. It is the third such complaint to be filed against Barclays and the tiny island nation off the northeast coast of Madagascar since 2009.
Cooperhill Investments, an international securities trading platform, and Kazou BV, an energy-efficiency business, claim the defendants, including BMI Offshore Bank of Bahrain, cost them $10.7 million - and that they were helped by a renegade band of Irish mercenaries.
In the earliest of the three cases, a small solar energy company accused the two entities of seizing $8.5 million from its accounts.
In the second case, two English businessmen claimed they paid the Republic of Seychelles a $460,000 ransom after being held hostage for 4 months by the Irish mercenaries.
"As noted in two previous lawsuits filed in this Court, rather than trolling the world's oceans for prey, the Seychelles government, in cooperation and conspiracy with Barclays Bank - and now BMI Bank of Bahrain - has commandeered the world's financial system and ransacked the bank accounts of legitimate businesses and law abiding citizens," the latest complaint charges.
"The Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), rather than brandish machine guns or grenade launchers has, by offering significant compensation, lured former Irish Gardai and former members of a secret Irish military unit to act as its mercenaries," the lawsuit continues.
"These former Irish Gardai [defendants Barry Galvin and Laim Hogan], and former members of a secret Irish military unit [defendants Declan Barber and Joe Cully], appear all too eager to disregard due process, engage in perjury, suborn perjury, encourage false official statements, and run amuck.
"These Irish subcontractors engage in these activities with little or no conscience as to the damage that they are causing their victims - and with no foresight as to the crippling blow they are dealing to the reputation of the Seychelles banking industry. They have gone so far that the plaintiffs in one of the previous lawsuits alleged that the FIU and its Irish subcontractors kidnapped the plaintiffs and held them for ransom.
"Unfortunately, plaintiffs here also have fallen victim to this rapacity. As with other businesses and individuals, they had the misfortune of depositing money into Barclays and BMI banks accounts in Seychelles, where the funds were subject to theft by Seychelles and the FIU - with assistance from these two banks."
Both plaintiffs say they opened accounts with the defendant banks, Barclays Bank (Seychelles) Ltd., and BMI Offshore Bank (Seychelles) in 2008.
"Although Barclays and BMI knew that the FIU intended to seize the funds in plaintiff's Barclays and BMI accounts, they hid this information from plaintiffs," the complaint states. "It is apparent that Barclays and BMI determined to conspire with Seychelles authorities to assist them in the seizure of the plaintiffs' funds."
As a result, the plaintiffs say, Cooperhill had to reimburse its clients for the $10.3 million in losses they suffered at the hands of the conspirators, while Kazou has found it increasingly difficult to conduct business without the $426,000 that was stolen from its accounts.
"Plaintiffs can have no expectations of fair legal proceedings in Seychelles; nor may they safely travel to Seychelles in order to avail themselves of the Seychelles court system that the U.S. State Department has found to be corrupt," the complaint states.
The companies want their money back, with interest, and costs, and damages for violations of the Alien Tort Claims Act, conversion, unjust enrichment, fraud, fraudulent omission, abuse of process, fraudulent inducement, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and aiding and abetting intentional tortious conduct.
They are represented by Craig Weiner with Hofheimer Gartlir & Gross.
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