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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
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Seychelles & Barclays Called Financial Pirates

(CN) - The owner of a solar energy company says Barclays Bank and the African Republic of Seychelles are conspiring to "commandeer the world's financial system." Along the way, they plundered his corporate bank account, illegally seizing $8.5 million from it, LXE Solar claims in Manhattan Federal Court.

Jie (George) Xiao, founder of LXE Solar, says he set up a bank account in Seychelles, an archipelago nation of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, merely to receive wire transfers from a client in Asia.

He said Seychelles' Financial Intelligence Unit seized his money in December 2008, and has offered no credible explanation for it.

Instead, Jie says, Seychelles tried to "work backwards" and create a justification for the money-grab, with assistance from Barclays and three Irish expatriates - co-defendants Laim Hogan, Barry Galvin and Declan Barber - whom he calls "mercenaries" who were "all too eager to disregard due process, engage in perjury and to run amuck with little or no conscience" to fulfill their employer's "lust of booty."

Jie wants his $8.5 million returned an additional $30 million in damages for fraud, conspiracy and 24 other charges.

Jie says the Seychelles began seizing the assets of foreign people and companies in 2008, after it was hit by the global economic crisis.

He says the International Monetary Fund has had to step in to save the republic from the "brink of disaster," that its foreign exchange reserves have been depleted, and that it is trying to renegotiate its foreign debt.

"Our complaint alleges that the Seychelles government is so desperate for money that it has resorted to what amounts to financial piracy, preying on unsuspecting foreign businesses and individuals," Jie's attorney Craig Weiner said in a written statement.

Weiner, with Hofheimer Gartlir & Gross, added, "Seychelles, which has positioned itself as an offshore financial center, is using unfounded and unproven allegations of fraud and money laundering as a pretext to seize the bank accounts of non-citizens with no legal or logical justification."

The complaint describes Galvin and Hogan as former members of the Irish national police force and secret police, who have no background in the banking or financial industries, but receive substantial commissions based on the money they seize.

It claims that Barclays repeatedly delayed opening his account, because it was working with the Financial Investigation Unit to seize the money he would put in it.

He says the $8.5 million was seized the day the bank finally opened the account.

Jie claims the Seychelles government worked with, or manipulated its Supreme Court to "finalize" its actions.

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