'I did no wrong'
PORT OF SPAIN — Former executive chairman of insurance giant CL Financial, Lawrence Duprey, has said that as far as he was concerned, he has done nothing wrong.
Although the failure of the financial conglomerate seriously threatened to destabilise the economy and to date the rescue mission has cost taxpayers $21 billion, Duprey in his witness statement to the Commission of Enquiry which was filed on Monday described himself as “a hardworking and dedicated citizen who worked hard to create wealth for all and was instrumental in the creation of thousands of jobs”.
Duprey also said he wished to refute the concept that he acted as if CLF was his “personal kingdom” and that it was a “one-man show”.
“At all times, I sought the best interests of the company so that the benefits derived would redound to the policyholders, shareholders and employees,” he said.
In explaining the failure of the company, he said: “The global collapse coinciding with an ever impossible revamp of the regulatory framework and a refusal of government-owned entities to back the group, after all the years of benefit that they had received from the interest income that the Group had generated, led to the need for some ultimate government support.
“I would have preferred … if the intervention had not been so politically motivated and had been directed at protection for I believe, had that been the position we would have fared a great deal better.”
The buck generally stops at the top, but Duprey stated: “I was firmly of the view in January 2009 that the run on CIB and the resultant liquidity or cash-flow issues were much inspired by the decision of state-owned and run entities making decisions at or about the same time to withdraw rolling deposits which had been previously rolled over from maturity to maturity without question. The decision to seek the funds back came in reality out of the blue and caused severe problems.”
Duprey said he has been severely hampered in the process of making the witness statement by several factors:
a) The lack of access to material;
b) He was now 78 years of age and did not have the detailed recollection that he used to of events and people he once did;
c) He now resides outside of Trinidad and Tobago “in the main as a consequence of the vilification I have been subject to and the fear of my family for their and my safety”;
d) His health is not as robust as it used to be and he is not able to spend hours concentrating without becoming tired and forgetful.
“This has been a life-changing and very shocking period for me since January 2009 and I have taken it all very badly,” he said.
Duprey challenged the statement made by former group financial director, Michael Carballo, that he was the sole decision maker. He said decisions were made by a consensus of opinions between himself and the operational staff. (Express)