Antonio Carbone, casino mogul, accused of attempted murder in Dominican Republic
Canadian businessman held in pretrial custody in connection with firebombing of casino manager’s car
Antonio Carbone, a controversial businessman embroiled in a lawsuit with financier and philanthropist Michael DeGroote over a $112-million Caribbean casino investment, has been arrested by Dominican National Police in connection with an alleged attempted murder.
Carbone, 40, is accused by Dominican investigators of trying to kill an executive of Dream Casinos, the chain of Dominican gaming houses that he and his brother, Francesco Carbone, founded before losing control over much of the company amid lawsuits, accusations of fraud and underworld intrigue.
The Carbone brothers were interviewed by CBC and the Globe and Mail as part of a yearlong investigation into the Dream Casinos debacle that aired on the fifth estate.
The investigation examined how the billionaire DeGroote lent the Carbone brothers tens of millions for their venture, and how organized crime figures became embroiled in the dispute — including the late Montreal Mafia godfather Vito Rizzuto.
Carbone, who was initially detained at the Punta Cana airport for questioning over his alleged role in the firebombing of a rival’s vehicle, was sentenced in late January in a Santo Domingo court to one year of pretrial preventive custody. He is now appealing that sentence.
He was later transferred to the San Pedro Prison, about 100 kilometres west of Punta Cana.
In a prison interview last week, Carbone told the fifth estate he was innocent of all allegations and that he was the victim of a campaign to discredit him. He said he plans to launch legal action against the district attorney and key witnesses for defamation.
Carbone credited the Canadian Consulate with arranging his transfer to the San Pedro Prison, instead of the notorious La Victoria Prison, where he was originally ordered to serve his time.
A judge approved District Attorney Yeni Berenice Reynoso Gomez’s detention request after she submitted a 10-page record of the case in court that outlined key details of the attempted murder allegations against Antonio Carbone and his brother, Francesco.
At issue is who was behind the December firebombing of a Jaguar belonging to well-known art collector and Dream Casino manager, Fernando Baez.
Baez, once a loyal ally of the Carbone brothers, had switched sides to support DeGroote in the battle over control of the Dream Casino Corporation. He immediately suspected the Carbone brothers and filed a formal complaint against them for the car-burning with the attorney general, who then began a police investigation.
Just days after Antonio Carbone was prevented from boarding his WestJet flight back to Toronto to celebrate his 40th birthday, the district attorney laid out her case in court.
According to a local newspaper, Carbone is now appealing the preventive detention.
A full update on the Carbone story will air this Friday on the fifth estate at 9 p.m.
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