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Trinidad pair to be tried in US over airport fraud

by Reuters
Sunday, 10 October 2010 19:46 GMT


* Trinidad attorney general clears extradition of two

* Businessmen indicted in U.S. for fraud, corruption

PORT OF SPAIN, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Trinidad and Tobago's attorney general has cleared the extradition to the United States of two local businessmen wanted on fraud and corruption charges relating to the construction of Trinidad's $1.6 billion Piarco international airport terminal.

In a ruling made public at the weekend, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said Ishwar Galbaransingh and Steve Ferguson should be tried in the United States on multiple charges, including money laundering, against them.

The two have been on bail since 2006.

In 2006, a grand jury in Florida indicted Galbaransingh, Ferguson and six U.S. businessmen for alleged corrupt practices concerning airport terminal construction contracts in the Carribean oil and gas producer.

The Americans pleaded guilty in a Florida federal court and were sentenced to terms between six months and six years.

Ramlogan said in his statement he was "convinced that Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh will receive a fair trial in the United States of America and the interest of justice is best served by their extradition to the USA".

"It is important that these serious allegations be tried as soon as possible ... it is right that they be tried in the United States of America where they will be either acquitted or convicted," he added.

Galbaransingh and Ferguson had waged a legal battle against their extradition, arguing that they were already facing criminal proceedings in Trinidad over the Piarco airport scandal and should not be tried in the United States. (Reporting by Linda Hutchinson, Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Philip Barbara)

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