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Lawyer Frank Elizabeth wins two landmark cases before the court of appeal!

The following article appeared in Today newspaper announcing the closure of BMI bank in Seychelles due to an ongoing investigation by Central Bank and FIU. Since the article was first published our law firm, Victoria Law Firm, has been inundated with queries from account holders at the bank looking for a solution to transfer their money outside Seychelles. We can provide a solution to the problem and have advised our clients how to operate their accounts despite the ongoing predicament of BMI bank. In case you are one of the account holders affected by the inability of BMI to comply with instructions to transfer funds, you can get in touch with us and we will advise you how this can be done.

BMI Status: Uncertain

By A. De Giorgio

Mystery still surrounds the Bank of Muscat International (BMI). After days of uncertainty, a representative of the bank now says the bank never actually closed down.

The Bank of Muscat International (BMI) never closed down, the representative of the bank told this newspaper on Thursday. This information comes almost two weeks after TODAY first revealed that following an investigation into the bank by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), the BMI had temporarily closed down, without any explanation. Yet, the persistence of this newspaper finally paid off after two weeks when a BMI representative agreed to speak to us. The bank never officially closed down, this newspaper was told. It is just that the bank is unable to provide its full range of services, our source added.

We are currently unable to process outward foreign currency transfers to our clientele but our depositors can still withdraw their funds via their debit cards, the BMI representative further said, echoing what the Central Bank said two weeks ago in a press statement about the situation at BMI. But no information has been forthcoming about the fate of Frank Hoareau, BMIs managing director (MD) or about the investigation to which the BMI has been subjected to by the FIU and the CBS. Sources told this newspaper that laptop of Mr. Hoareau has been seized by the FIU and that he has been interdicted from duty but this newspaper has been unable to obtain confirmation of this. The BMI representative told this newspaper that even though employees of BMI have not seen Mr Hoareau since the beginning of the investigation, the board of the BMI has informed employees that Frank Hoareau was still the MD of the bank.

No employee has been made redundant, the BMI source further added. It all started when TODAY was contacted two weeks ago and informed that the BMI unexpectedly closed down. This newspaper further learnt that the FIU together with other law enforcement agencies had seized documents, including computers and laptops from the bank as part of their inspection and that the managing director of bank, Frank Hoareau as well as other staff members were not allowed at the bank. TODAY visited the bank that same morning to verify and found a closed sign hanging on the closed doors even though the opening hours displayed clearly stated that the outlet opens from Monday to Friday- 8am to 4:30pm. The office had been emptied of its personnel and of its furnishings save for two desks and one lady who was manning the phone. That same morning, TODAY contacted BMIs managing director but he neither confirmed nor refuted the allegations and instead suggested that this newspaper.

contact the FIU or the CBS. The Seychelles Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) told this newspaper that the BMIO was not under investigation as such but that the FIU was carrying what is called a general inspection. The CBS has also confirmed via a press communique that together with the FIU, it was conducting an examination on BMIs transactions and records due to an operational issue. According to the CBS, the bank BMI uses as an agent abroad to conduct its transactions in foreign countries, otherwise known as a correspondent bank. The correspondent bank, as yet unnamed, discontinued its relationship with BMI on October 13, leaving the offshore bank unable to process outward transfers, which is one of the core elements of its business.

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