By Jacob Gelt Dekker, opinion columnist for Curaçao Chronicle
PAIS leader, Alex Rosaria, warned that if reining in the money laundering activities of the illegal SMS/ UTS lottery fails, autonomous Curacao will be balancing on the verge of becoming a Failed State and should call in assistance from The Hague.
Summarizing what we know from the media on the SMS-lottery so far:
- The SMS lottery is outside the law due to lack of regulations.
- The SMS lottery is operated by UTS and owned by local entrepreneurs.
- A monthly turnover of 30-50 million continues in spite of a 26 months criminal investigation.
- A payout rate of 90%, and guaranteed anonymity of lottery ticket buyers, makes the SMS-lottery the largest, cheapest and most attractive money laundering organization on the island.
- The direct and/or indirect involvement of the SMS-lottery entrepreneurs in the murder of Helmien Wiels has been suggested by the Minister of Justice as well as the office of the Public Prosecutor. Wiels’ threat “to close down” the illegal SMS- operation could be the motive for the murder- for- hire.
- Contract killers were arrested and convicted, but the illegal SMS- lottery was allowed to continue its illegal activities. Nobody was arrested or charged.
An overwhelming amount of data and information has been leaked to the public, which suggests that the office of the Public Prosecutor plays the public as a last resort. PAIS sounds the alarm and suggests outside forces to step in.
By Jacob Gelt Dekker. Opinion Columnist for Curaçao Chronicle.