Cuba says Scotiabank has broken int’l law
published: Wednesday April 5, 2006
CUBA BELIEVES Scotiabank violated international law by closing the
United States dollar account of local Ambassador Gisela García Rivera,
which it said it did to comply with United States legislation.
Speaking on behalf of the Cuban government, Dr. Ricardo Alarcón, said:
“It (Scotiabank) is supposed to act and abide by the clear laws and
regulations of the host country. It’s supposed to abide by the Canadian
laws without disregarding the Jamaican laws.”
Dr. Alarcón was speaking to The Gleaner while on a trip to represent
Cuban President Fidel Castro at the swearing-in of Portia Simpson Miller
as the new Prime Minister last Thursday.
IN COMPLIANCE WITH BOJ GUIDELINES
However, Scotiabank maintains that its decision was taken in compliance
with Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) guidelines governing U.S. legislation which
embargoes several countries, including Cuba. Nationals of these
countries are prevented from holding U.S. dollar accounts under such
legislation which includes the Patriot Act and the Helms-Burton Act.
Cuba has been embargoed by the U.S. since its 1960 revolution.
“Various laws, including the Patriot Act, govern your corresponding
banks within the U.S. and if you are making U.S. dollar transactions
then you will have to make transactions with those banks. Were this an
issue over Jamaican or any other currency then we would not have to have
taken the decision,” said Senior Vice-President of Scotiabank Jamaica
Legal and Compliance Department, David Noel.
Dr. Alarcón and Mrs. Rivera maintained it was common practice for Cuban
embassies worldwide to operate local U.S. dollar accounts as the world’s
favoured foreign currency.