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Can’t touch it

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

Can’t touch it

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The Court of Appeal yesterday unfroze millions of dollars belonging to former CLICO International Life (CIL) Insurance boss Leroy Parris.

But the attorney for CLICO’s judicial manager has described it as a hollow victory for the millionaire, saying he still cannot touch a cent.

Ramon Alleyne made the declaration yesterday after the Court of Appeal lifted the two-year injunction which had frozen $3.333 million of Parris’ assets.

“At the end of the day this is as empty a victory as you can get. Not a cent is going anywhere,” noted Alleyne.

“The judicial manager has made it his business, coming out of the forensic report, to go after any money that is due policyholders. And it is no different because it is Mr Parris or anyone else. And that is why there is a judgment against him for the $3.3 million,” Alleyne declared.

Parris, of Dayrells Heights, St Michael, was the former chairman of CIL and CLICO Holdings Barbados Ltd. The insurance company collapsed in 2009 leaving thousands of local policyholders in financial ruin. Deloitte Consulting Limited was appointed as judicial manager in 2011.

Yesterday, Justice of Appeal Kaye Goodridge, who appeared with President of the Court, Professor Andrew Burgess, and Justice of Appeal Margaret Reifer and who read a synopsis of the 61-page judgment, overturned Sir Marston Gibson’s 2016 High Court decision.

Sir Marston, sitting as a first instance judge, had upheld the injunction put in place by Justice William Chandler the previous year. Sir Marston had ruled that the insurance company, once headed by Parris, was entitled to the money, which Parris had claimed were legal fees and bonus.

Sir Marston had also struck off the estate of David Thompson as a party to the matter. But this was overturned by the Court of Appeal which reattached Thompson’s estate to the list of defendants.

Parris declined to comment, while his attorney Hal Gollop, QC, who appeared with Michael Yearwood, said the Court of Appeal had upheld their decision.

Vernon Smith QC and Steve Gollop represented Branlee Consulting, Parris’ company, while Maurice King QC represented the estate of David Thompson, who was the attorney for the company.

Efforts to reach June Fowler, chairperson of the Barbados Investors and Policyholders Alliance, were unsuccessful.

Alleyne, who appeared with Michael Koieman and Sheena-Ann Ince, said the former CLICO head had gained a “pyrrhic victory that offers no benefit for him because the monies are still held to the order of CLICO”.

“People don’t understand there is a judgment against Mr Parris for over $3 million and we have garnished that money. What was lifted today was a preliminary injunction before we got to the point of judgment. When we got to the point of judgment, a garnishee was made against him. Lifting this does not change anything,” Alleyne noted.

“Not a cent of that money is being made available to Mr Parris. The reality is every cent that is due the policyholders of CLICO will be given to the policyholders of CLICO once the judicial manager can identify the means to get it and we don’t believe that money from the insurance company should be just siphoned away to the benefit of Mr Parris,” Alleyne said.

The attorney further noted the appellate judges had said there was a “good arguable case” that Parris was wrong and in breach of his fiduciary duties. (HLE)