Rijock (left), Michael

Minister of Investment and Trade of Antigua and Barbuda, Asot Michael, has announced that he is taking legal action against Kenneth Rijock and another online blogger for defamation.

“I have instructed lawyers in the United States of America to take legal action against Kenneth Rijock and Monte Morris Friesner for knowingly and maliciously bringing my standing in the international community into disrepute and injuring my capacity to conduct transactions through the global financial system,” he stated.

He said Rijock and Friesner have been carrying out a sustained smear campaign against him and governments of the Caribbean. He stated that blogs written by them contain deliberately false and maliciously damaging claims that have hurt his standing as a Minister of the Government and his decades-old family business.

Reports are that the two recently claimed in an article that Michael was arrested in the United Kingdom and in his “bags and baggage were allegedly a number of blank, valid Antigua passports”. However, the UK National Crime Agency, in an e-mail of 13 February 2018, contradicted the claim saying that “no such items were in Mr Michael’s property and that the article is incorrect”.

“I will seek redress in the Courts from this continuous assault on my reputation by two convicted criminals whose record of unlawful conduct is notorious, and who now defame countries, companies and individuals, for money. I have endured enough of this slander and denigration and I will pursue every legal action at my disposal to get recompense”, Michael said.

Rijock, who is based in Miami, is facing legal troubles from Dominica after Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, along with Foreign Affairs Minister, Francine Baron, National Security Minister, Rayburn Blackmoore, and Police Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, filed a lawsuit against him for failing to retract published allegations that thousands of blank Dominican passports were issued to Moroccan Ambassador to Dominica, Mohamed Benjilay.

The lawsuit was filed on May 15th, 2017, at the High Court in Roseau.