Published On: Sat, Sep 18th, 2021

United Group buys Banco di Caribe

PHILIPSBURG — Banco di Caribe has been sold to the Curacao-based United Group Holdings for an undisclosed amount of cash, the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS) announced in a press release. The Central Bank of Aruba was quick to react with a press release of its own, claiming that obtaining a direct or indirect interest in Banco di Caribe Aruba requires the approval from the Central Bank of Aruba.

Article 17 of the national ordinance supervision credit systems prohibits private citizens and legal entities to obtain a qualified participation in a credit institution without prior approval from the Central Bank of Aruba, the press release states.

The CBCS states in its press release that the deal is “conditional on the successful completion of the supervisory screening by law.”

The parent company of the Ennia Group, Ennia Caribe Holding, represented by the CBCS, signed the sales agreement with United on September 11. It is an all-cash transaction and the proceeds will go directly to Ennia Caribe Leven NV.

The sale includes all of Banco di Caribe’s banking activities in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire and St. Maarten, the insurance and investment activities of Van der Lubbe Assurantiën, BanCarib Real Insurance Curacao and BdC Investments.

According to the CBCS the transaction will provide Banco di Caribe with a strong shareholder and a committed partner, “thereby creating room for growth and to invest in providing optimal financial services.”

United Group Holdings was established in 2007 by corporate attorney Gregory Elias. In 2009 the group established United International Bank in Willemstad.

In 2016, Elis reportedly paid $7 million through his charitable vehicle Fundashon Bon Intenshon to have the Rolling Stones play a free concert in Ciudad Deportiva in Havana, Cuba.

In the Panama Papers, Elias’ name surfaces as the director of five entities: United Trust Management Aruba,  Pandutch Oil, Burgor, Soliderco and Gybe Sailing.

He denied during testimony in The Hague in a parliamentary mini-survey about tax evasion that he had frequently used the company at the heart of the Panama Papers-scandal, Mossack Fonseca. According to a report on Curacao Chronicle, Elias’ trust office was mentioned 312 times in the Panama Papers. Elias testified under oath that this information is “pertinent inaccurate” and “very annoying.”