By Loshaun Dixon
Former long serving Federation Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas has been under investigation by Britain’s National Crime Agency since November after being detained as he tried to leave the UK with UK£70,000 ($92,000 US) in cash, according to the Mail on Sunday newspaper. These are allegations he later denied, claiming it was political tactic of the Harris Government.
After the November 16th incident, although he was released to travel to Dubai, his money has remained in Britain, according to court records, in the custody of UK authorities while the investigation proceeds.
As for Douglas, he has denied being arrested, contrary to a story published in the Mail on Sunday. “This story is deliberately politically contrived. I was never arrested in the United Kingdom and I do not think there is any intention for any arrest on my part given the circumstances within that story,” Douglas told St Lucia Times by telephone.
“This is a matter that is receiving the attention of my lawyers and you will hear about it later,” the former Prime Minister told St Lucia Times.
He described the publication of the story as a vicious attempt pursued three weeks ago by a local social media network of the coalition government of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
But it should be pointed out the UK newspaper story, as well as the Observer’s, did not say Dr. Douglas was arrested. It clearly explained he was temporally detained because of the amount of undeclared cash found in his airline carry on luggage. A UK law enforcement source said: ‘He told them it was for political campaigning but could not explain where it came from and where it was really going.’
They added: ‘He was pulled up by Border Force and he declared he had a little bit of cash on him but something didn’t smell right and the search found the stash.’
Anti-money laundering rules state anyone leaving the UK to travel to a non-EU country must declare any sum above $11,000 (£8,400). He apparently hadn’t done this.
Officers seized the equivalent of more than £70,000 – in sterling, US dollars and eastern Caribbean dollars – from him on November 16 when he could not explain why he was attempting to leave the country with the cash.
Mystery surrounds the bizarre incident on which neither the Home Office nor police will comment.
Agents are now attempting to trace the origin of the cash.
However, the Mail on Sunday understands Dr Douglas is the subject of a probe by the National Crime Agency.
Officers were granted the right to hold the cash for a further six months by Crawley Magistrates’ Court on November 19, a claim which was verified to the Observer by the court.
Dr Douglas boarded a flight to Dubai empty handed.
It is understood he arrived in Britain on November 13 and was detained leaving three days later.
However the incident is embarrassing to Britain given the praise heaped upon Dr Douglas in 2011. Offering his ‘warmest congratulations’ at his promotion to the Privy Council, the then Prime Minister Mr Cameron said: ‘I believe that this appointment is fitting for a Prime Minister with many years of loyal service to Her Majesty and I look forward to working with Dr Douglas in years to come.’
Dr. Douglas said he believes ‘millions’ are being spent to tarnish his name ahead of the elections that are due in 2020. “Because some one is uncomfortable with the last result of the polls that they have looked at.”
He noted that despite the claims he was able to travel to England and return without any trouble. “After all of this I have been back to England in fact I came back from England two weeks ago. Why is it I can go to England and return after all that they are saying.”
Dr. Douglas also claimed that all the campaign finances that has been collected abroad has been accounted for. “Whenever I go abroad and raise funds for the party all of the money is accounted for. The chairman nor the treasurer of the party, could never be accused of not giving a proper account for the funds that have been collected.
Dr. Douglas also made several unsubstantiated claims against the government regarding the article.
The government through the Prime Minister’s Press secretary was contacted by The Observer for comment and indicated that a response will come later in the week. Up until press time this publication had not received any statement.