Four men charged with laundering $4 million worth of gold entered not guilty pleas during their first Grand Court appearance on Friday.
Daniel Alberto Aguilar Ferriozi, Francisco Antonio Di Ventura Herrera, Pedro Jose Benavides Natera, and Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante have been jointly charged with two counts of money laundering and one count of concealing criminal property.
The charges allege that the men all played varying roles in the importation of $4 million worth of gold sometime between 27 May and 31 May this year. A further US$135,000 was found hidden beneath a compartment in the private jet that transported the gold to Cayman. The money gave rise to a single count of concealing criminal property. An additional charge of money laundering was also listed in the indictment but not put to the defendants.
“I have not seen any evidence in relation to count three, and therefore I request that no pleas be taken at this time,” said defence attorney Oliver Grimwood, representing Benavides Natera.
Following the request, Crown Prosecutor James Hinds, QC, told Acting Grand Court Justice Marlene Carter, “The matter is still an ongoing investigation, and more evidence is expected to be forthcoming prior to the trial.”
Benavides Natera and Gonzales Infante were both remanded into custody, while Aguilar Ferriozzi and Ventura Herrera were released on bail. All four defendants are due to return to court on 20 Sept., at which time it is anticipated that pleas will be entered on the second count of money laundering.