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Dillon shoots down false media reports

Published: 
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
National Security Minister Edmund Dillon. PICTURE ANISTO ALVES

National Security Minister Edmund Dillon is denying reports that he was found guilty in a civil case in New York, describing the reports as “erroneous” and “libellous.”

Several social media articles over the weekend claimed Dillon was found guilty of defrauding an alleged incapacitated person, Neville Piper, but the Minister says there has been “no determination” in the matter. Piper has been described as a close friend of the Point Fortin MP for over 45 years.

One of the articles claims Dillon was found “guilty of fraud – ordered by a US Supreme Court to repay every cent stolen.”

Another claims “restraining order issued against Trinidad National Security Minister by New York court. Some of those reports have not been authenticated, as the next hearing on this matter is set for April 4.

According to Dillon’s attorney, on August 12, 2017, Piper transferred an undivided half interest of his million-dollar apartment located in Manhattan, New York to the Minister.

“This deed transfer was done willingly, and the transfer documents, were executed by Mr Piper, in the presence of counsel, and in the presence of an independent witness,” the statement said.

A source familiar with the matter in New York told Guardian Media no determination has yet been made in the matter.

Dillon issued a statement to clear the air on the issue yesterday.

In a three-page statement, he said: “The court has not yet commenced any enquiry into wrong doing, much less arrived at any decision or judgment of any kind of wrongdoing on my part.”

He adds, “contrary to salacious and erroneous media reports, I am not involved in any criminal court indictment, and there has been no conviction of any kind against me.”

“I would like to caution the media that it must be responsible in its reporting. More importantly, I urge the population to resist any attempt by those intent on making mischief and bringing my good name into disrepute. This is a clear case of maliciousness perpetuated by those with an intent on publishing innuendos and uncorroborated facts. I wish to advise all such individuals that this is highly libellous and they should be guided accordingly. The matter is taking its normal course through the New York State court system,” the statement said.

Dillon is mentioned in civil proceedings in the New York Supreme Court, although he is not a party to the matter.

He has been accused by relatives of Piper, an 88-year-old man, of fraudulently transferring a New York property to his name and misappropriation of funds.

Dillon maintains those claims were made “without any evidence whatsoever.” According to him, the claims made by the temporary guardian Reginald Asiedu Esq. “are totally bereft of any factual data.”

While a New York city court evaluator’s report states that Piper did not recall signing over his property, the document also suggests that Piper was also opposed to relatives intervening on his behalf.

As of now, Guardian Media understands Dillon has been asked to vacate power of attorney which is normal in these proceedings.

The source said that allegations of unauthorised cash withdrawals will likely arise at the next hearing in New York and the temporary guardian will have to provide evidence of such.

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