Brazilian Federal Police arrested former TCI premier Michael Misick (C) at Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont airport on Friday
As the arrest of former premier Michael Misick in Brazil became known in the TCI on Friday, local phone lines were jammed with callers trying to confirm the various stories.
Local reaction ranged from absolute glee to very sombre at the news. Many in the TCI have been disappointed that he did not stay to face questioning in relation to a number of corruption allegations as did his former cabinet colleagues and family members, who have since been charged with various criminal offences, including bribery, corruption and money laundering.
Reports have since surfaced that certain unnamed individuals in North Caicos had been sending money to Misick in Brazil.
Meanwhile, the Progressive National Party (PNP) reportedly held a special emergency meeting to discuss the arrest and its ramifications (see separate story
According to the Brazilian Federal Police, Misick had been residing in Rio de Janeiro since October 2011 in an upscale neighbourhood, where he was described as living comfortably. He reportedly had a work permit but it was not revealed how he was employed.
It appears he was living with a woman and, while police were aware of his presence and were watching the residence, they could not access the apartment without a warrant apparently because it belonged to the female in question. However, when they learned Misick was alone at Rio de Janeiro's Santos Dumont airport, they arrested him as he attempted to board a domestic flight to Sao Paolo. He was reportedly surprised but cooperated with police.
Misick had reported applied for political asylum in Brazil some months back but this was refused by the Brazilian authorities. On Friday he was apparently en route to Sao Paulo to seek advisers and lawyers in order to stay legally in Brazil.
On Friday morning, Orlando Moreira Nunes, federal deputy head of Interpol in Rio, requested that Misick be remanded into custody because of his importance.
“We wish to discredit the idea that big criminals can come to Rio and live peacefully,” he said.
Nunes said that Misick would be interrogated, and then be taken to the Ary Franco prison, which has been described as one of the worst prisons in the world. In June, a UN panel recommended the immediate closure of the Ary Franco prison, citing detailed cases of torture and other inmate abuse and characterizing the cells as filthy and bug-infested.
The UK authorities are now seeking Misick’s extradition to the TCI to face a number of serious charges relating to corruption and maladministration (see separate story
Britain concluded an extradition treaty with Brazil on July 18, 1995, which applies to Great Britain and Northern Ireland; and to any territory for whose international relations the United Kingdom is responsible.