GEORGIA, United States, Saturday August 13, 2016 – Jamaican-born career banker and businessman, Donovan Crawford has filed defamation lawsuits against Harvard College, part of the Ivy League Harvard University; the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario; and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada.
The US-based Crawford is seeking almost US$250 million collectively in damages over reports which he said were part of two studies conducted by the educational institutions and publicized by all three of the defendants.
In a statement announcing the legal action, the former head of the collapsed Century National Bank described the reports as “false, erroneous, pernicious and extremely damaging, causing ruin”.
Crawford did not identify the reports in his press release, but said that before filing the lawsuits he had requested retraction of the reports. However, he said, that was not forthcoming.
Back in 1996, in response to an application filed by the Minister of Finance at the time, Dr. Omar Davies, the Supreme Court in Jamaica issued an order freezing the assets of Crawford and his bank, the third largest in Jamaica, and its subsidiaries. A long legal battle followed and in 2005, the United Kingdom Privy Council upheld the local court’s ruling that the bank and its subsidiaries pay billions in loans and interest to the government-owned Financial Institutions Services Limited which was subsequently taken over by the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC).
“My bank was the taken over in an armed commando style take over by the Minister of Finance in Jamaica during a business trip overseas. After this assault on my family and I, the three institutions [Harvard College, the Ivey School of Business and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada] began to malign my character globally, resulting in devastating effect on my ability to conduct business worldwide and losses of all my income for the rest of my life. Their actions have also contributed to the hastened passing of my mother,” Crawford claimed.
The former banker said he has faced mounting losses of personal assets and the assets of the bank through the unceasing sale conducted by FINSAC despite his protests.
He said he was being “nailed to the cross with no hope of resurrection as even his appeal to the International Center for Human Rights was abruptly halted.”
Crawford said he and his family held 53 per cent shareholding in Century National Bank; Century National Merchant Bank, the second largest merchant bank; and Century National Building Society, the second largest building society with consolidated assets of over US$2.8 billion at the time of the takeover.
He said and his family also owned 49.4 per cent of The Renaissance Jamaica Grande hotel, the largest hotel property in Jamaica; and held majority control in Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Jamaica, the largest medical insurance corporation in the Caribbean.