DeSilva under questioning over Savvy loan
A former Progressive Labour Party minister was in police custody last night in connection with an $800,000 government deal with an American music promoter.
Police did not name the man but The Royal Gazette understands it was Zane DeSilva, the ex-tourism and transport minister and newly re-elected PLP MP.
A police spokesman said last night: “The Bermuda Police Service can confirm that a second person has been taken into custody for questioning in connection with the ongoing investigation into matters surrounding the government loan to Savvy Entertainment.”
About six plain-clothes officers were seen at Mr DeSilva’s home in Southampton last night.
The officers arrived in a blue police van and two unmarked vehicles. Mr DeSilva was seen getting into a white Chevrolet Trax SUV, which arrived at Hamilton Police Station just before 8.30pm and was driven into the loading bay next to the station’s main entrance.
Police received a complaint from the Bermuda Government last week in connection with Anthony Blakey and Savvy Entertainment, an exempted company which was solely owned by him when it was incorporated in 2016.
Lawyers for the Government have failed to find Mr Blakey in Georgia to serve him with a legal demand to return the bulk of the taxpayer funds, plus interest.
A first individual who was interviewed was also not identified by police — but it was understood to be Danilee Trott, a Bermudian event planner who worked with Mr Blakey.
David Burt, the Premier, said last night: “There is a presumption of innocence in this country that applies to everyone regardless of who they are.
“Police investigations are carried out everyday without the revelation of names of individuals who may be questioned.
“This investigation should be no different and equal justice should be applied.”
Mr Burt added: “Regrettably, it now seems clear that news of this operation was leaked from officials involved in the investigation to achieve maximum political impact.
“This is a methodology employed on previous occasions with members or supporters of this government and is shocking in its total disregard for what should be the rule of law.”
Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley said this morning: “Any decision by the Bermuda Police Service to effect the arrest of an individual, is based on many different factors.
“However, such action is not an indication of guilt and does not always lead to charges being laid.
“The decision to do so rests with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“There are some in the community who would have seen the headlines about the most recent arrest in connection with this investigation.
“Whilst it is the media’s role to report and speculate against such matters, we ask the public not to jump to conclusions based on limited knowledge of fact.”
He insisted: “The BPS will act without fear or favour and properly investigate any serious allegation of wrongdoing.
“To do otherwise, would undermine the principles of natural justice.
“Finally, it is important for the public to note that the matter in relation to Savvy Entertainment was presented by Government to the BPS to investigate.
“The BPS has responded to this and it is therefore disappointing when criticism is made of the service in regards to speculative reports around individuals being spoken to, when a previous arrest in this matter received no such commentary.”
The loan agreement with Savvy Entertainment was made in April 2018.
It was signed by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Tourism, Mr Blakey and Ms Trott.
The police spokesman said on Wednesday: “The investigation into the matter involving Savvy Entertainment continues with individuals closely associated with the situation interviewed and evidence — electronic and otherwise — being gathered.
“A person of interest is now assisting police with the ongoing investigation.
“Additional interviews will take place within the next few days.”
The loan agreement said that the money would be used to set up a recording studio for Bermudian and international artists and to ship recording equipment to Bermuda.
A studio was expected to be set up in the historic Moresby House, on Pender Road, in Sandys. But a civil action filed at the Supreme Court in June last year against Mr Blakey and Ms Trott said they had defaulted on $778,204 of the loan.
Ms Trott said that she did not hold any shares in Savvy and did not get any of the loan cash.
The Royal Gazette has been unable to contact Mr Blakey.
The PLP last night refused to comment and referred questions to the Government’s media office.
Mr DeSilva was the Minister of Tourism and Transport until he resigned in July after he and others were caught on camera at an event in breach of Covid-19 restrictions that required social-distancing and masks.
He was re-elected as an MP for Southampton East in the General Election on Thursday, when he secured 630 votes against 78 for DaQuan Scott of the One Bermuda Alliance.
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