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Businessperson Carlos Rafael, known as 'The Codfather'. (Photo: GigstoGo YouTube)

‘Codfather’ negotiates his fishing fleet sale

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Saturday, October 07, 2017, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

The owners of the Whaling City Seafood Display Auction, in New Bedford, have confirmed that they have entered into an agreement with Carlos Rafael, nicknamed the ‘Codfather,’ to buy his business, Carlos Seafood, Inc, for USD 93 million.

Carlos Rafael was sentenced to 46 months in prison for his illegal fishing scheme, and cannot be involved in the fishing industry during that time and three years after his release.

The purchasers, the Canastra brothers, approached Rafael about six months ago, offering the fishing mogul, who pleaded guilty to falsifying fishing quota, bulk cash smuggling and tax evasion in March, a way out of the industry. The deal would include Rafael’s fleet of scallopers and accompanying permits.

“We know boats. We know the business. We’re doing this to keep this in New Bedford. My plan is to get out, hopefully, in ten years when things lighten up and it can be sold properly instead of this fire sale where people want everything for nothing,” stated Richard Canastra, one of the purchasers, in an exclusive interview with WBSM.

Canastra also said there are national green organizations and other special interests in Maine that want to purchase Rafael’s 13 forfeited permits, adding that the federal judge has not yet decided what will become of those permits.

Canastra pointed out that the Port of New Bedford would feel the pain if Rafael’s boats were sold to an out-of-city buyer or redistributed throughout the Northeast and stated that he “didn’t know” how likely the agreement was to becoming a done deal.

“We’re just waiting,” Canastra said. “The government has all our deal structure. We presented it to the government. They know the deal and how Carlos would stay out of the business.”

Rafael and Canastra, owner one of the largest fish auctions on the East Coast, have done business in the past. Nevertheless, the latter denied any past relationship would influence this deal and that Rafael would be entirely out of the fishing industry.

While the Canastras and Rafael have agreed, the deal is not complete as NOAA and the US Attorney have not taken a final position on the proposed sale, according to court documents.

Related article:

- 'Codfather' Rafael receives 46-month sentence
- Sheriff’s office captain accused of helping ‘Codfather’ smuggle money
- Codfather’s associate convicted in cash smuggling scheme
- ‘The Codfather’ pleads guilty of fishing quota fraud
- 'Codfather' seafood mogul pleads guilty in fish scam

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