FBI arrests EZjet’s boss

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FBI arrests EZjet’s boss

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Dec 13, 2012

http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2012/ ... jets-boss/

FBI arrests EZjet’s boss
DECEMBER 13, 2012

The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested embattled founder of EZjet Air Services Inc., Sonny Ramdeo.

Kaieteur News was told that agents zeroed in on him Tuesday evening in New York after weeks of wire fraud investigations.

At the time of his arrest, Ramdeo was reportedly speaking to a senior official of EZjet’s Guyana office on Skype, a video call that uses the internet.

It is unclear at this time whether this was how the FBI managed to track him.

Yesterday, management of the local office in Brickdam, Georgetown, was set to meet with staffers to discuss the implications of Ramdeo’s arrest but this was postponed.

Local staffers yesterday confirmed that they were told of Ramdeo’s arrest but said that they learnt that he was held yesterday and not Tuesday.

EZjet was suddenly suspended from flying last month by the US’s Department of Transportation after Swift Air, an Arizona-based aircraft company, complained that the low-cost charter owed them a significant sum of money. Guyana, Trinidad and Toronto, Canada also issued similar suspension actions.

Ramdeo, who lived in Florida, had reportedly been on the run since early November as US investigators started probing complaints that he allegedly stole US$5.4M from his employer, Promise Healthcare, and passed it through the accounts of EZjet.

He had also owned a payroll company that managed salary payments for Promise which runs 11 hospitals in the US. The accusations are that he would have illegally diverted the payroll money to the bank accounts of two companies.

The monies, according to a lawsuit filed by Promise Healthcare against Ramdeo and EZjet, were stolen within the last three months.

Ramdeo had denied that he had been on the run but admitted that he was “engaging” the FBI regarding the allegations.

However, the official, a former villager of Windsor Forest, West Coast Demerara, has not been seen since last month in Guyana. EZjet officials in New York where the company had a ticketing office, also said that he has not been seen there.

Yesterday, Country Manager of EZjet, Rosalinda Rasul, did not respond to calls and emails. A visit to the Brickdam offices found that she was too “busy” to meet with reporters. She was reportedly meeting with local travel agents.

EZjet became a household name since starting last year December with its low-cost flights.

This was more so for the many burning questions over its source of financing and its seemingly “impossible” low ticket costs.

The company had denied persistent rumours that former President Bharrat Jagdeo and his close friend, Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop, who manages Queens Atlantic Inc, had shares in EZjet.

The company had also downplayed the fact that Rasul had been a senior official in Queens Atlantic shortly before EZjet’s arrival in Guyana.

EZjet had been spending big on advertising to a market of travelers who more than welcomed the low costs.

The company closed its New York office leaving passengers unsure how they will get back hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

Earlier this week, EZjet criticized Government over its decision to grant Caribbean Airlines (CAL) flag carrier status, and vowed to return to full operations by Easter next year.

EZjet said that it has found investors.

It had made no secret that it may have been interested in the status which allows an airline a number of lucrative concessions in the host country.

In Guyana, EZjet is claiming that it owes stranded passengers $38M with 300 passengers still to get refunds.

The company said that it flew more than 500 New York flights since it started last December, transporting two-thirds of the passengers travelling the route with Guyana.

Government had said at the time of EZjet’s suspension last month that there may have been some 25,000 to 30,000 advance bookings for the months of November and December 2012.

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