Former government minister Brian Kuei Tung, businessman Steve Ferguson and United States businessman Raul Guiterrez Jr are not going down lightly.
The trio, through their attorneys, are appealing the Government’s US$131.5 million judgment against them, over alleged fraud related to the construction of the Piarco International Airport.
The trio’s US legal teams filed the appeal last week after Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Reemberto Diaz approved the final judgment sought by the State, which was initially approved by a jury in March.
Reports state that Kuei Tung and Guiterrez Jr filed their appeal jointly, while Ferguson’s was filed separately.
In a media conference after the judgment last week, former attorney general and current Rural Development and Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi announced the Government’s plan to enforce the judgment against the trio as they mulled over their appeal.
Al-Rawi explained that the enforcement process would entail the State’s lawyers applying to the US court for the disclosure of the trio’s US assets.
He also explained that the three individuals do not have to pay equal portions of the judgment sum, as the entire compensation could be taken from one depending on the circumstances.
“It does not have to be split in three. It is up to them how they are going to treat with the civil liability amongst themselves,” Al-Rawi said.
The final judgment obtained in the Miami case is based on the US$32,385,988 in compensation by the jury, which has to be tripled as the racketeering charges were filed under the US’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO).
The country also successfully sought US$38,876,972.89 in prejudgment interest less US$4,631,691, which was previously paid by the trio in settlements and restitution.
The US lawsuit relates to the alleged inflation of two related construction contracts and a maintenance contract for the airport.
The US case is separate from four local criminal cases over the airport project.