The first instalment of money frozen in offshore bank accounts in the Dutch Antilles has been released to mobile phone traders.
Around 3,000 mobile phone traders have had funds frozen in the First Curacao International Bank (FCIB), in the Dutch Antilles, since August 2006, when the FCIB was placed into administration by the Central Bank of the Dutch Antilles on suspicion of handling fraudulent VAT funds. It is thought each trader has between £10,000 and £10 million stuck in the FCIB.
This week, the FCIB released some money to traders for the first time. The breakthrough comes after traders issued proceedings against the FCIB. Until now, all legal proceedings against the FCIB have failed.
Alias Dass, of Dass Solicitors, said: "Some money has now been released. Proceedings are ongoing. The Central Bank is still holding things up, and traders must still provide thorough documentation. But this is a breakthrough."
More cases will be heard today.