Ambassador Lynch stresses due diligence for US companies entering Guyana market

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United States Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann-Lynch, highlighted the need for careful consideration and research when US companies enter the local market during a radio interview on August 29. 

Her remarks were prompted by questions regarding a July 14 Reuters article that implicated Guyanese businessmen Nazar Mohamed and his son, Azruddin. The Ambassador was speaking at the time on local morning radio programme, Jumpstart, with host Gordon Moseley.

The Mohameds are part of a multimillion-dollar project aimed at constructing a shore base for ExxonMobil in Guyana, but face allegations of involvement in money laundering, drug trafficking, and gold smuggling.

Ambassador Lynch clarified the role of the embassy in facilitating business ventures, emphasizing that they do not instruct any commercial entity about who to engage with. 

“What we do is we give them broad information and allow them to do their kind of cost-benefit analysis and determine who should be a local partner,” she continued. 

Oil wealth must drive inclusionary growth; steer clear of corrupt vices – US Ambassador to Guyana | OilNOW

Ambassador Lynch noted that the Embassy has already seen the benefits in this regard, considering the level of interest US companies have in the South American nation. 

“We have gone from a handful of companies here to over 100…some of the most interested are family-owned businesses that really did not invest internationally before, but they saw all these opportunities in Guyana, and they came here,” she stated. “Many of those companies are on the southern coast of the United States. So, they actually have a lot in common with Guyana – you know, Louisiana, Alabama. They also have an active oil industry. They have a fishing industry.”

Lynch was asked what the repercussions would be if a US company were to engage in business with a partner under investigation by the US government. The Ambassador said that no US company would want to face any such repercussions.

Reuters has claimed sanctions may befall the Mohameds.

“I do not think any US company wants to do that. They do not want to go down that road. They want to work with reputable firms. They do not want to have any of those repercussions. US companies, by and large, do their homework. They do exercise due diligence, and we are happy that they do that,” she added. 

The Mohameds have strongly denied the allegations against them. However, the Reuters report said there are ongoing criminal investigations and potential US sanctions.

The Mohameds’ expansion into the oil industry from gold mining is particularly noteworthy, highlighted by their involvement in the high-profile US$300 million shore base project for ExxonMobil in Guyana. This project is led by the consortium, NRG Holdings, in partnership with Jan De Nul.

The allegations against the Mohameds has drawn the attention of agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Homeland Security, according to Reuters.

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