Thursday, 02 February 2023 12:44

SSL claims ex-employee visited Usain Bolt's office for help

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The board and management of scandal-hit brokerage firm Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) are denying a claim that they sought to dispose of assets amid an investigation into a multimillion-dollar fraud of accounts, including one held by eight-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt. 

In a statement dated January 30, 2023, the board and management of the company said they intended to facilitate law enforcement and other professional investigators conducting the probe without making public comment. 

The statement outlined a timeline of events, including a claim that its ex-employee visited Bolt's office seeking help from the sprint legend. 

What's more, according to the statement, no current board members or managers were aware that Bolt had an account because, the account was not held in his name; and the account did not from 2018, have balances which would have flagged it as a high-value account. 

SSL said it has become necessary to set the record straight in respect of some "damaging and widely repeated inaccuracies", which suggest that directors and management sought to dispose of assets to frustrate efforts by authorities to take control of same.

"This is simply untrue," SSL directors said in a statement obtained from an attorney who was asked to disseminate it to the media. 

The statement follows last week's disclosure by the Ministry of Finance and Public Service that SSL attempted to undertake a members' voluntary winding up of the company. And that the Financial Services Commission (FSC) sought a court order blocking the SSL from doing so. 

However, SSL's directors have now sought to share "facts regarding that false allegation as well as some other canards". 

According to the statement, SSL's board and management appointed Caydion Campbell of Phoenix Restructuring, Advisory and Insolvency Services Enterprise (PRAISE) as Trustee under the Companies Act of Jamaica effective, Monday, January 16, 2023. SSL’s directors and shareholders met that day to confirm the appointment, in keeping with the work plan submitted to the FSC by management. 

According to the directors, the intention was that their powers and authority be vested in the Trustee and that the affairs of SSL would be under his control, the statement said. 

Further, the trustee and his team would conduct an Independent Business Review (“IBR”) and other investigations into SSL’s operations to determine, among other things, its financial state of affairs as of the date January 16, 2023.

"The purpose of the appointment was not, we repeat, not to wind up the company," the statement from the SSL directors said. 

Among Campbell’s key objectives was to ensure that all necessary conservatory measures were in place over the assets of SSL and ensure compliance with the enhanced governance protocols as directed by the FSC, the statement said. 

"It was intended that he would also use the results of the IBR to explore the restructuring and reorganization options that were available to preserve and enhance the value of the business, operations, and undertakings of SSL for the benefit of all its stakeholders," it added.

Once agreed with the FSC, a resolution plan would have been developed and implemented, the statement said.