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Who paid for this mansion in Canada? Haitian demand response



Sir. Célestin said he also had a radio station called Model FM, which he started in a rural area but which grew to the point that he installed it in a suburb of the capital Port-au-Prince. The station has a small, discreet office in the suburb of Petionville with no sign. On the two occasions that The Times visited, the office was closed, or there was a single person there who could not provide any information about the station – not even a flyer.

Sir. Célestin said he also owned a gas company called PetroGaz-Haiti, but according to his own description, it appeared to violate legal bans on making state funds. While politicians are allowed to own companies, the constitution prohibits them from having contracts with the state, which Mr Célestin said he had had for four years through the company.

With outrageous wrestling, the Haitian government’s anti-corruption unit launched an investigation into the purchase of the Célestin home in Canada in February. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the national police force, said it could not reveal whether it was also investigating the transaction. But according to Canadian rules, the purchase should have raised a red flag, said Garry Clement, the former head of an RCMP unit investigating money laundering.

As a senator, Mr Célestin is considered a “politically exposed person” under Canadian money laundering rules, which means financial institutions must exercise caution in determining the source of funds transferred of more than $ 100,000. These rules would also apply to Mrs Célestin as the wife of a “PEP”, Mr Clement explained.

Sir. Célestin said everything about the purchase was overboard. “If I were not clean, I would have had a lot of problems with the banks in Miami,” he added, saying he routinely transferred between $ 20 and $ 30 million to Turkey to buy iron for what he described as one of His importing companies. “I would be scared if my money wasn’t clean.”

But Mr Célestin and his Montreal lawyer, Alexandre Bergevin, declined to answer follow-up questions or disclose the names of his import company or his farm. His wife, an adviser at the Haitian Consulate in Montreal since 2019, did not respond to a request for comment.




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