DH | Former VDSM head is released, still a suspect

St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM James Richardson | Foto Daily Herald

St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM James Richardson |  Daily Herald

PHILIPSBURG–Former head of St. Maarten National Security Service VDSM J.A.J.R. (41), suspected of embezzlement and money-laundering, has been released from pre-trial detention, the Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed.

He is still a suspect in the open investigation and is required to cooperate with the Prosecutor’s Office.

The former head was released from the custody of the National Detectives last week Friday. He was arrested by National Detectives with assistance of police on July 19. The Prosecution believes he laundered NAf. 800,000 from January 2011 to mid-2013.

Money laundering is considered a continuous offence from which the suspect possibly has been profiting up to today. His house in Ebenezer, Cul-de-Sac, also was searched in connection with the ongoing investigation called “Tarpon,” led by the National Detective Agency.

Searches of a hotel room and at a moving company also were carried out. Documents, money, valuables, a car and data-carriers were confiscated. No one at either the hotel or the moving company is suspected in the investigation.

The Daily Herald understands that the suspect has taken a job in Aruba and has moved to that island on condition that he must come to St. Maarten for one week every month until the investigation is over.

The National Detective Agency has been busy with the Tarpon investigation since mid-2015. The long duration of the investigation is due, among other things, to the fact that when the investigation started the National Detective Agency had a very limited capacity and was constantly confronted with other large-scale and time-consuming investigations.

The Tarpon investigation is also targeted on recovering proceeds of crime and is the first time the National Detective Agency has conducted such an investigation. Recovering proceeds of crime fits within the Agency’s new policy, equal to that of the Prosecutor’s Office, and more such investigations can be expected from now on.

The former VDSM chief was allowed to declare expenses incurred for his personal security, but the amounts – for example, where hotel cost is concerned – are being contested by Government Accountants Bureau SOAB. These investigations, in which possible financial misappropriation within the VDSM was described, were the reasons the VDSM chief was suspended and ultimately replaced.

Bron: Daily Herald

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