An island-based businessman has been removed from a US Treasury blacklist after a year-long fight to clear his company’s name.
International payment processing firm PacNet was devastated overnight in September last year, after the group was accused of being involved in a mail fraud scam in America.
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) listed PacNet Group as a ’significant transnational criminal organisation’, claiming it had a ’lengthy history of money laundering by knowingly processing payments on behalf of a wide range of mail fraud schemes that target victims in the US and throughout the world’.
Canadian-based PacNet Services Ltd, which provided payment processing for internationally recognised businesses, small and medium commercial enterprises and charities, categorically denied the allegations - and mounted a vigorous defence.
And last week OFAC acted to remove from its list all 12 employees and officers of PacNet who previously had been included. That list included island-based Paul Davis (pictured inset, right) who was general counsel for PacNet and director of some of its subsidiaries.
He said: ’Our world-class global business was utterly destroyed. It was a unilateral declaration by OFAC with no warning, no charge, no arrest. They simply announced "you are on the list" and our world fell apart.
’This is supposed to be used against organisations that pose a threat to security. But to use it against a purely commercial organisation in this way was absolutely extraordinary. It was like a nuclear bomb going off.
’We were a legitimate employer operating in 50 countries. This blew us out of the water.’
Practising lawyer Mr Davis, who owns Grenaby-based Manx Rare Breeds, said there had been 135 people working for PacNet in September last year. Now there are eight - whose job is to close down to the company.
He said: ’People whose lives were impacted have suffered varying degrees of distress. A couple of people tried to commit suicide. It took me three months to stop waking in the night with a cold sweat. But I have never worked harder.’
Mr Davis said PacNet was on the list for one year and 12 days and its removal was the fastest that anyone has been taken off. He thanked their highly skilled US attorneys for presenting the documents and evidence to prove the listing was unwarranted.
He said 99% of people who knew PacNet had stood by them, saying they never believed a word of the accusations.
But he said PacNet could never been reborn. ’The internet doesn’t forget. The false information spread will always be out there.’
George Calhoun, of PacNet’s attorneys Ifrah Law, said: ’Officers and employees of PacNet have co-operated fully with this investigation and are pleased to announce this speedy delisting.
’Prior to this designation, PacNet operated without incident and with compliant business practices for over 20 years. This listing has devastated their business, and our clients are thankful and relieved by this resolution.
’OFAC has agreed to the additional delisting of the PacNet companies in the coming weeks.’