A 64-year-old Australian who claimed he was heading to Antigua to purchase a yacht with multiple currencies totalling the equivalent of US $107,005.24 is facing criminal charges after he failed to declare the monies to local authorities.
Warwick James Reid, a retired real estate broker currently residing in Indonesia, is charged with ‘untrue declaration’ and ‘failing to declare monies’.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges when he appeared before Magistrate Ayanna Baptiste-DaBreo on Tuesday, September 3.
The court heard that Reid was an in-transit passenger travelling from Indonesia to Antigua.
He flew into the territory via the TB Lettsome International Airport from Puerto Rico on August 30, which was around the time the territory was bouncing back from Hurricane Dorian.
Upon his arrival, he reportedly filled out the Customs Declaration Form and allegedly denied having more than US$10,000 or its equivalent in his possession.
The court further heard that he was unable to continue on his travels the same day due to the inclement weather and had to overnight in the territory as a result.
While attempting to leave the following day, his belongings were rejected as it passed through the territory’s security checkpoint scanner.
A physical search of his bag was subsequently conducted. During that time, he allegedly informed customs officers that he was carrying a large quantity of cash.
The court heard that after he failed to produce the proper documentation for the cash which was said to be in several bundles, he was taken to a private room and questioned.
Prosecutors alleged that the accused then explained that he did not declare the funds because he was an in-transit passenger when he arrived at the Beef Island-based airport.
He was subsequently arrested and charged.
Prosecutors said the money which amounted to US$107,005.24 was in seven different currencies.
He allegedly had €96,700, $237,000 in Indonesian currency, $1,075 in Australian currency, $3270 in Thailand currency, $332 in Malaysian currency, $40 United Arab Emirates currency and $38 in Singapore currency.
During a cautioned interview with police, Reid reportedly said he declared the funds in every stop along his journey including in Texas in the United States.
He, therefore, said he did not see the need to declare it in the British Virgin Islands because he was in transit.
Despite his attorney Leroy Jones’ attempt to secure his bail, the court ruled that Reid was not a suitable candidate.
Jones argued that his client cooperated with the authorities, he is not a threat, and he had no previous conviction in the territory.
However, the Crown objected, arguing that he had no status in the territory, has no ties, no permanent place of abode, and can be a flight risk.
Magistrate DaBreo ruled that his trial will commence on Monday, September 9 and accepted the Crown’s application for the said funds to be detained for investigations.
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