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Belize govt pays final instalment of Ashcroft settlement

24 Nov 2017

The Government of Belize reportedly paid USD78 million to British politician and businessman Lord Michael Ashcroft and his affiliates on 10 November, as a final settlement for the 2009 acquisition of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL). The payment represents the final instalment of the BZD557 million (USD272.2 million) resolution. It is understood that the government was forced to dip into its foreign reserves to meet the final payment, with the figure amounting to around 25% of the country’s reserve assets. Financial Secretary Joseph Waight told the media that it would take about two years for the country to recover that amount.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in July 2016 the government was ordered to pay BZD458.4 million for the telco by the Permanent Council on Arbitration, although the final amount has been inflated by accumulated interest and arbitration costs. Until August 2009 BTL was 94%-owned by interests under the control of Ashcroft, but that month the Belize government renationalised the company in just two days, taking a 94.5% stake, with a view to reselling stakes to Belizean nationals.

Belize, Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL, Digi)

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