(Trinidad Guardian) After building a billion-dollar insurance empire with tentacles throughout the region, former CL Financial chairman Lawrence Duprey claims he is now flat broke. “I am no billionaire. That is a lie. I don’t have a damn cent,” said Duprey during a telephone interview on Wednesday at his Florida, USA, home.
After the collapse in 2009 of CL Financial—which Government recently spent TT$20 billion to bail out—Duprey, 79, the man at the centre of the controversy, is now focusing on philanthropy, and seeks to enhance the wellbeing of the less fortunate in countries around the world.
The philanthropy, which takes Duprey to Uganda and the Far East, involves meeting well-placed individuals and planning leadership training to help the less fortunate. The programme is supported by some of the richest businessmen in the world including Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, Duprey said.
When CL Financial went belly up, the globetrotting entrepreneur turned his energy to quietly working with several humanitarian groups from around the world to alleviate poverty, a job which he insists began in Trinidad before the crumbling of the mega-insurance firm he managed.
Providing proper housing, jobs, roads, water, skills training, electricity and a smooth transport system, Duprey said, is vital in increasing productivity and improving one’s standard of living. Duprey stayed clear of the Commission of Inquiry into CL Financial and Hindu Credit Union, except to question what good the money being spent by the Government on legal fees would do.