Friday, August 6, 2010

Expect a lot of companies to go into receivership in Belize.


9 Belizean entities owe over $482.7M to Belize Bank - Eugene Zabaneh Group in trouble Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator
Thursday, 05 August 2010 00:00

Eugene ZabanehEugene ZabanehOver the past two weeks the Guardian has been following the Belize Bank’s loan portfolio activity. In our investigations we’ve determined that the bank has activated a Group Risk Unit which is tasked with collecting some 28 percent of the bank’s loan portfolio which is delinquent. That represents 206.9 million dollars of a total 680.4 million dollars. While the figures are alarming, what’s more so is that the Guardian has been reliably informed that, as at December of 2009, there
were nine principals who hold an impressive 482.7 million dollars in loans from the Belize Bank.

One group in particular is controlled by Eugene Zabaneh which up to December of 2009 held loans amounting to a hefty 52.1 million dollars. These loans are spread over personal loans and those of six companies. Significant loans include a 16 million US dollar loan to Santa Ana Dev. Co. LTD., US 10 million to Maya Island Air, 10 million dollars to Riversdale Dev. LTD, U.S. $7 million to Eugene Zabaneh and other loans. While the portfolio is significant, what is worrying is the fact that these loans are bordering on going into default. With the presence of the GRU at the Belize Bank, it would mean that the ‘forgive no sins’ mentality will kick in and the Zabaneh group may be at risk of running into receivership.

It is quite a fiasco which we’ll keep monitoring but to which we can add a bit of light. During the inauguration of Maya Island Air’s international flights in July of 2009, present were Ralph Fonseca and Said Musa. Under what capacity they were there is unknown; however, judging from their history of how they managed the finances of Belize during their ten year tenure of office, and if they were somehow involved in the finances or even just in giving advice to Zabaneh it would explain a lot. The group is now floundering and even if just by association maybe, just maybe, Ralph and Said may have something to do with it. In the end, it would appear that anything these two are involved with somehow ends up bad.

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