Anyone else affected by Atlantic International Bank shutdown

Got news this morning that Atlantic International Bank has been ordered shut down by Central Bank of Belize.  I have an off-shore account at the bank, and tried to make contact to the headquarters office this morning and no one was answering the phone. I contacted a friend in Belize City who told me AIB took down their signage.

Atlantic International Bank has been directly implicated in the Sanctuary Belize scam by the Federal Trade Commission.

It looks at this point that I will not be able to recover my money. … state-suit

It seems the regular Atlantic Bank is not affected, In some areas they shared a building  and to some extent staff, so not sure what affect that will have.

You can go to the FTC website and ask for redress on this issue.  I know there have been some individuals who invested in the Sanctuary Belize scam that have looked into recovering their funds, but I don't know if anyone has been successful. As I posted some time ago, I would have had concerns if I had utilized Atlantic Bank for any Belize transactions, or had an account there. 'Will the old' on this forum has utilized Atlantic Bank International as well, and you might touch base with him. I hope you are able to recover your money.

I am curious to see how this plays out, as I have an account with a relatively small balance at AIB.  I am seeing conflicting news stories posted on FaceBook, one indicating that Central Bank is stepping in to protect deposit holders. Crossing my fingers!

The Placencia branch of AIB was open all day on Wed the 28. I went in the first time about 30 min after opening. I asked for and received a statement of my account from the teller.  It was as I expected, so I made a request to withdraw funds only to be told they had no cash. My balance was less than a thousand USD.

I went back about an hour later after another appointment elsewhere to see the branch manager and to request in writing stating what had been told to me verbally.  He said he could not do that, but did make a notation on my copy of the withdrawal request saying "Not processed, pending availability of cash" with his signature overlaid with his stamp.

An acquaintance of mine is in the process of buying a property so had recently made a wire transfer from a large Canadian bank to the AIB account of a Belize escrow company handling the sale, for almost $200,000 USD (actually Canadian equivalent) . 

It has been about three weeks and attempts to find out where  the funds are at this point have not been successful as of early afternoon. He just knows the funds left the Canadian bank. A request to cancel the wire transfer was made today at both banks.

Later Wednesday, I  just happened to talk to a local businessman that used to contract  hospitality services to "Sanctuary" (Also know as "The Reserve", most recently renamed "BuyBelize") .  He said that one day each week, he and a partner would accompany the Sanctuary sales staff out to their island to meet with that weeks group of prospective buyers, sometime the number of  prospective buyers was up to 40.  He said he stopped contracting services to them a couple of years ago when it got so obvious to him it was nothing but a scam.

The reason I bring this up, he told me included in the sales staff were always representatives from  Atlantic International Bank, pitching to the prospective buyers how easy AIB could provide a loan to buy one or more lots in the development.  Reassuring buyers that it was a safe investment.

So it seems AIB did a lot more than just loan money when a buyer came to them.
AIB apparently went out to the property and pitched the AIB loans alongside the Sanctuary property sales staff.

No wonder the FTC is also going after AIB.

About 5 years ago when first looking for property we approached AIB about mortgages and building loans, We did not go any further as they were insistent that they supplied the list of Builders and architects that we could choose from, and they would provide a mortgage/loan to only to cover those contractors estimates,  The motgage on the land alone would need a 50 % up front  deposit. All the interest rate would depend on wether we were paying from a UK/European source or a US one. Differed by 3 % in favour of European payments. We decided far too constricting and  did not go their route.

I have an account for years and read about the scandal and didn't think much about it.

But now I'm buying a house and needed to make serveral withdrawals.  it's been 4 weeks and I got really worried. 

they told me it's being processed but the delay and tone on the phone was suspicious  and now I find out the reason!

I'm not sure what central bank will do but they did not shut them down.  as long as they are liquid we might have a chance.

I expect their phones will be ringing all day Monday.  i will call the central bank too and se what they plan to do....

I'm naively hoping that AIB will allow the closed accounts to be moved over to Atlantic Bank.

I Really doubt it. I know several folks who only have the international account as they could not get the local account for Atlantic  bank, Scotia, Belize bank ,  Heritage etc account set up,  or in some casesthey  were just not willing to go through the weeks to months long process it takes to get any Belize account permitted through Central Bank.

I just feel bad for people that are stuck. It used to be so much easier to open a local account. … k-limited/

Referencing my previous post on 29 March 2019:

Seems the evidence of complicity of AIBL employees hawking the Sanctuary loans was damming enough that AIBL is not even going to challenge the charges against them. Just liquidate and  close the doors. … -business/ … k-limited/

As a foreigner, this quote from the first link does not give me any warm|fuzzy feelings in getting much of my money back...

” The Prime Minister added that Choice Bank’s clientele were primarily foreigners, but it is the opposite in Atlantic International’s case.

Channel 5 further reports that Atlantic’s C.E.O. Ricardo Pelayo has stepped down and their operations are being overseen by a chairman from Honduras."

Received this email last week:

Message to all Depositors and Creditors from the Liquidator, Atlantic International Bank Ltd.

15th May, 2019, Belize City, Belize

Appointment of Liquidator, Mr. Julian Murillo

On 12 April, 2019, the international banking license for Atlantic International Bank Limited was revoked on the recommendation of the Central Bank of Belize.  Atlantic International Bank Limited is therefore prohibited from carrying on international banking business.

On the same day, the Central Bank of Belize appointed a Liquidator for Atlantic International Bank Limited.

The Liquidator is now the sole legal representative of Atlantic International Bank Limited.

The Liquidator now has the powers of the shareholders, directors and officers responsible for the management of Atlantic International Bank Limited. The powers of the shareholders, directors and officers are terminated during the liquidation of the bank.

Duties and functions of the Liquidator

Section 38 of the International Bank Act makes it so that the duties and functions of a liquidator as it relates to a domestic bank are the same duties and functions of a liquidator of an international bank.

The duties and functions of the Liquidator of Atlantic International Bank Limited are mainly provided for in Part XI of the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 2012. This Act is publicly available on the website of the Central Bank of Belize, > Laws & Regulations> Domestic Banks & Financial Institutions Act.

The duties and functions of the Liquidator for Atlantic International Bank Limited include the following:

the sale of assets for maximum amount;
receiving and determining claims filed by depositors and other creditors;
distribution of funds according to the priorities provided for by law.
The Liquidator also has full power and authority over the administrative and managerial operations of Atlantic International Bank Limited.

Timelines and next steps

Section 107(4) of the Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act requires the Liquidator to issue a Notice, by 11 June, 2019, to all depositors, creditors and lessees of safe-deposit boxes held by Atlantic International Bank Limited to file a claim with the Liquidator. The Notice will inform of the procedure, deadline and forms for filing a Claim.

By law, the Liquidator must allow a minimum of sixty (60) days from the date of the Notice to file a claim.

The Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Act provides a timeline for the Liquidator to take certain actions with respect to the determination of claims and the distribution of funds. The Liquidator must adhere to the following timelines:

Publish or deliver a Notice for Filing a Claim within 60 days of appointment of Liquidator (by 11 June, 2019)
Allow 60 days after the Notice for depositors and creditors to file a claim (by 11 August, 2019)
Within 90 days of the deadline for the filing of a claim (by 11 November, 2019):
(a) Determine claims;

(b) Prepare a Schedule of proposed actions; and

(c) Notify each person whose claim is allowed in full

File a Schedule of Proposed Actions to be taken for the winding-up of Atlantic International Bank Limited with the Central Bank of Belize and commence partial distribution (any time after 11 December, 2019)
Note deadline for creditors to make objection to Schedule of proposed actions to the Central Bank of Belize (within 21 days of the filing of the Schedule)
Please note that the Liquidator and his team are working diligently and will endeavor to complete the steps in the liquidation process before the maximum deadlines provided for by law, with a view to distributing funds to depositors and creditors as expeditiously as possible.

Further updates and communication

The Liquidator will be providing periodic updates and public notices on the liquidation process of Atlantic International Bank Limited at the following website:

You may also continue to contact the Liquidator directly by email at liquidator[at]

Well now we have some dates for things to thericaly happen.  ;)

The website in the link was registered last week. I wonder how many weeks it will take to  actually put the website behind it...

I got the same email last week. And the link to the liquidator website was not yet functional.

But... the good news is that my small account (under US$2K) balance has already been transferred to my regular Atlantic Bank account. Not sure if having that local account available made it easier or not. [I had requested the transfer in the last week that the AIBL office in San Ignacio was still open.]


For other expats who are caught up in the Atlantic International Bank fiasco, do you know if there’s a class action lawsuit being prepared and what I can do to recover deposited funds? Is there a list or grievance process that I need to initiate? Any info would be helpful.

GlobalExpat222 :


For other expats who are caught up in the Atlantic International Bank fiasco, do you know if there’s a class action lawsuit being prepared and what I can do to recover deposited funds? Is there a list or grievance process that I need to initiate? Any info would be helpful.

You might start off by reading this thread and using the search feature on this site for other info. Be sure to see post number 14 in this thread.  You should have received that same mail or email.

I will feel very lucking if i get anything back. I requested to withdraw my funds about a week before they locked the doors. So far I have only received that email and they still dont have the website up and running..........

I am curious, as to whom you think you might be able to sue?

Thanks WTO. I never received any notification at all, which worries me because I want to be sure I’m on their list of depositors. I have under $10k in a business account, but that’s still a tidy chunk of change. Not sure if my chances of recovery are worse off bc it’s a biz account.

It looks like the liquidation website is finally up and running.

I just now saw it, so have not verified any content. But at least now the link goes to something other than the default hosting page.

https://www.atlanticinternationalbankli …

Just went back and read through the website.  So far it seems to only be another way of distributing the original letter.  If anyone sees any information there not in the original letter, please post it


GlobalExpat222 :

Thanks WTO. I never received any notification at all, which worries me because I want to be sure I’m on their list of depositors. I have under $10k in a business account, but that’s still a tidy chunk of change. Not sure if my chances of recovery are worse off bc it’s a biz account.

Ouch, a tidy sum indeed, my account is somewhat less than $1k.

I am no expert, but from reading between the lines, and knowing a little about banking from life experiences. we will only get back a percentage of our money.

The letter says the liquidator will sell the assets and distribute them. Banks do not have all our money just sitting around in a vault, or electronic account. They lend out money and make other investments with it. They are only required by law to keep a percentage of funds on hand. I don't know the percentage, but it is low.

So the things the liquidator has to sell are:

1) loans the bank has made. First off the loans to Sanctuary people are worthless. The good loans will be sold off at a steep discount to others over time.

2)Repossessed property (REO) from previous loans gone bad.

3) Buildings, property, and  hardware they used when they we operating.  So perhaps 20%-30% might be recovered to be distributed to us.

An interesting line in the letter and on the site "C) Notify each person whose claim is allowed in full."

So does that also mean that those of us not "allowed in full" will not be notified?

I am normally a very optimistic person, but each time I read through the letter, it looks worse...

This is Belize......
Things vary...from time to time.   
Things vary....from person to person.

P.s. Based on the previous bank closure Choice bank i believe, depositors are about 5th in line to get paid , after the central bank, government,  employees etc.  In My case 9th..

Unsecured claims against Choice Bank will be paid in accordance with the following priority schedule,
prescribed by Section 116 of the DBFIA:

i. firstly, credits extended to Choice Bank by the Central Bank until the appointment of the Liquidator;

ii. secondly, credits extended to Choice Bank prior to the appointment of the Liquidator and under collateral whose object are Choice Bank’s assets and to the extent of such collateral;

iii. thirdly, the necessary and reasonable expenses incurred by the Liquidator, including professional fees in carrying out his functions;

iv. fourthly, the wages and salaries of the officers and employees of Choice Bank (whether or not earned wholly or in any part by way of commission) including any amount payable by way of allowance or reimbursement under any contract of employment, that accrued during the three months immediately preceding the appointment of the Liquidator, provided that such amount does not exceed five thousand (Belize) dollars;

v. fifthly, all deposits in amounts not exceeding five thousand (Belize) dollars per depositor, respectively;

vi. sixthly, all taxes due and other imports owing to the Government of Belize;

vii. seventhly, the fees, debts and assessments owing to the Central Bank of Belize;

viii. eighthly, credits extended to Choice Bank after the appointment of the Liquidator;

ix. ninthly, all other deposits;

x. tenthly, all other unsecured claims of creditors;

xi. eleventhly, subordinated debt;

xii. twelfthly, late claims;

xiii. finally, shareholders.

Breaking News:
New info coming out about the government and the Central Bank of Belize being complacent in the Sanctuary Belize real estate fraud. I just came back to Texas yesterday so missed much of it.

Here are a few links I found:
This one is from the Prime Minister's law firm threatening the Belize news media if they broadcast  stories about what the US Federal Trade Commission is saying about it. Blatant censorship from the head of state Dean Barrow attempting to shut down the news media plane and simple. … 7/0001.jpg

After you read this page, note the links along the right hand edgie on more of this breaking news.

PM Barrow Says ‘It Wasn’t Me!’ … -wasnt-me/

More On FTC filings Sanctuary Belize fraud.

To see many new news stories about this, open google,
then look for the "Tools" option below the search window.
Set the time frame to one week,
then search this phrase. FTC filings Sanctuary Belize fraud

Thanks for the update. Sooo glad I was never involved with SB or 'Buy Belize' or AIBL. Unfortunate for those who were. I hope that some of the investors will be able to recoup thier funds.

No one has gotten any deposits back - at least on record. There is an application process you must conform to. Get it submitted and cross your fingers.

Money disappears in Belize like the sun at night. Never leave, expecting a debt to be repaid. They are poor people who do not miss an easy opportunity to separate you from your money. Its not discriminatory, they will take their mothers money if they can. They cannot afford the morals ,and/or,laws, we may be used to.
At the banking level, the ruling powers that be, are most likely in on it, so don't expect much.  I imagine it is the same in other poor countries. But I only know about this one. 
I dont know a single person, who has ever left Belize, with the money they came with.

I am new to the forum. I have read it for years, and finally decided someone needed to tell the downside. Rose colored glasses need to be left behind if you intend to make a poverty stricken third world your new home. Pretty scenery and warm weather  comes at a cost. I just want people to be aware of the reality of it.

I's OK Joe you are not in anyway alone here are far more people claiming to Just "tell it as it is" and ONLY ever giving negative information than there are glossing over the flaws. Dismissing the whole education system as Horrible is not helpful without saying what is or why it is horrible.  Everyone has their own experiences good and bad, Some people relate them in this forum I am sure after following the forum for years you would know that.
In what part of Belize are you located?
Your dark sweeping views of the whole country and all its people seems outstanding as after 25 plus years I still only really know about 2 and a half of the districts. So am unable to and don't offer information on the areas and subjects outside my own experiences.
The majority of Belize people I have met of all income levels are a very  friendly and "Moral" society, but that is only in my own experience, maybe the area of Belize you live in is different.

There is nothing that Joe says that is inaccurate. Its a poor, badly run country. Home invasions ( aggravated burglary) are popular pastimes
Mexico is poor but I have not had the money siphoning, permanent borrowing, and petty theft experiences here

Welcome back for another round of Belize bashing from SusanMEXICO, she does a drive by shooting of Belize a few times a year.

Now I always tell folks Belize is only suited long term for a few adventurous folks from North America,  just because you really like a week or two vacation here, does not mean you could live here year round. Heck as much as i love belize I split my time between Placencia and Texas.

SusanMEXICO And Joe remind me of the Old Blind men and Elephant parable.
Experience is limited to a particular area, so they tell everyone the entire county is they way they experience it.

If folks are not familiar the parable, here is one of many versions:

A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: "We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable". So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said "This being is like a thick snake". For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said the elephant, "is a wall". Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear.

Julian A. Murillo Liquidator Atlantic International Bank Limited

To: All depositors and creditors of Atlantic International Bank Limited (in liquidation)
24th September, 2019
“Settlement between the US Federal Trade Commission and Atlantic International Bank Ltd. Re Sanctuary Belize”
On 10th July, 2019, I had updated that Atlantic International Bank Limited (“AIBL”), now in liquidation, had reached a settlement with the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), and that full details of the settlement would be provided once the FTC completed their internal approval process. Earlier today, the FTC announced the approval of the settlement and I now share its details. 
The settlement pertains to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on October 31, 2018, against several companies and individuals involved with the Sanctuary Belize development. The defendants were accused of violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a), which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce,” and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, which prohibits misrepresentations in the course of telemarketing.   
The FTC also named Atlantic International Bank Ltd. as a defendant, but not on the same grounds as the other defendants. Rather, the FTC alleged that AIBL had “aided and facilitated” the other defendants’ violations of the Telemarking Sales Rule and the FTC Act. 
The FTC also obtained, ex parte, a Temporary Restraining Order on November 5, 2018, that, among other things, purported to freeze all of AIBL’s assets (or at least those assets in the United States) up to US$144 million, the purported extent of losses suffered by the alleged victims affected by the violations the defendants were accused of.
AIBL maintained its innocence and in preliminary court activity, defended its position by seeking the removal of the asset freeze and challenging the US court’s jurisdiction in an effort to dismiss the claim. The asset freeze was reduced to US$10 million of AIBL’s assets based in the US, but the jurisdiction of the US court was upheld.
Shortly after these preliminary rounds of US court activities, AIBL began experiencing liquidity difficulties as a result of unusual and increasing levels of withdrawal requests from customers due, it appeared, to the reputational damage caused by being named in the FTC proceedings. AIBL was also incurring unsustainably high legal fees in its defense of the FTC action, even at those preliminary stages of the case.
On the revocation of AIBL’s banking license and my appointment as Liquidator by the Central Bank of Belize on 12 April, 2019, the FTC moved swiftly and successfully restored its freeze to all of AIBL’s assets which were based in the US.
Shortly after my appointment as Liquidator, my legal team and I proceeded to seek US Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the Florida Bankruptcy Court. This Chapter 15 status would have established the recognition of the Belize liquidation process under US law and provide protection of AIBL’s assets in the US as a part of the liquidation estate. The FTC vigorously opposed this recognition, resulting in a separate court case generating additional legal fees for the liquidation estate in addition to the already heavy burden of the FTC Sanctuary Belize suit.

Although there has not been any court judgment or determination against AIBL in the substantive Sanctuary Belize suit, and the bank strongly denies any wrongdoing, a reasonable settlement of the FTC allegations, in my judgment, was in the best interest of AIBL’s depositors and creditors and the liquidation process, for several compelling reasons.
First, the ability to effectively dispose of the bank’s loan portfolio without hindrance, a portfolio which represents a significant portion of AIBL’s assets and is located in Belize, is a material factor for prospective purchasers of those assets. The FTC proceedings against AIBL had impaired loan repayment flows which, without an urgent settlement, would have severely deteriorated the quality of the loan portfolio and negatively impact its value. 
Second, the financial, human resource and time costs attendant to an extended legal battle with the FTC in US courts would be an unendurable burden on the liquidation estate. At the point of revocation of its license, AIBL’s management had already spent over US$2 million in legal costs. Since the liquidation process began, these costs continued to rise and have reduced reserves that would otherwise be available to distribute to depositors and creditors.
Third, the liquidation could not be concluded until the FTC proceedings are concluded and AIBL’s liability is determined by the US courts. Despite the considerable outlay of time and costs already expended in just the preliminary rounds of court action in the US, the substantive FTC Sanctuary Belize case is not scheduled to begin until late January, 2020 in Maryland. The FTC had expressed its intention to seek half of all the assets of AIBL in damages as partial restitution for the alleged victims of the Sanctuary Bay matter, a split of 50% of assets to the alleged victims and 50% to depositors of AIBL. The uncertainty of the duration, and most importantly, the outcome of the substantive case were therefore plausible risk factors that had to be considered.
The settlement agreed upon will see the ceding to the FTC of US$23 million of AIBL assets held in the US and currently subject to the restraining order, along with various agreements of cooperation with the FTC. The settlement resolves all allegations against AIBL, ensures the recognition of the liquidation process under US Chapter 15 bankruptcy laws thereby enabling access to the remaining assets in the US, and paves the way for the optimal and most expeditious possible return for depositors and creditors in the liquidation process. 
AIBL’s assets located in Belize include fixed assets, limited investments, and the loan portfolio which represents close to 70% of the total assets. The majority of the fixed assets have already been disposed of via public auction, and targeted values have been successfully realized. A transparent sales process for the loan portfolio has also commenced. The loan portfolio sale process is at an early stage and there are multiple factors which will likely impact the disposal value of the portfolio, and the final payout to depositors. Nevertheless, my team and I will continue our best endeavors to ensure that maximum values are realized on all assets to safeguard the best outcome for depositors and creditors.
JULIAN MURILLO Liquidator - Atlantic International Bank Ltd.

I received the above today.
Read it through once..... Need to read it a few more times before posting my feelings of disgust.

Maybe Susan hasnt been to the parts of mexico where beheadings are common??

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