DH | TBO conducts searches and arrest one in Larimar case

TBO conducts searches and arrest one in Larimar case

PHILIPSBURG–The Anti-Corruption Task Force TBO on Tuesday conducted what is believed to be several searches of buildings associated with United Democrats (UD) Member of Parliament (MP) Theo Heyliger and arrested one person in relation to the “Larimar” investigation.

. TBO spokesperson Roderick Gouverneur confirmed that a search was conducted relating to the Larimar investigation and that one arrest had been made. He said however that at the moment TBO is not making any statements because of the ongoing investigation. The Daily Heraldunderstands that Heyliger’s home and that of a relative of his were part of the search.

As part of the Larimar investigation Dutch consultant R.M. (64) is suspected of alleged bribery of Heyliger, a former Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI between August 1, 2011, and September 9, 2011. According to an indictment that had been handed to the suspect by the Prosecutor’s Office late last year, R.M. paid Heyliger US $300,000 for the purchase of real estate – US $260,000 via Caribbean Advice and Consultancy Ltd. and US $40,000 through Advanced Consultech SA – to persuade Heyliger to award government contracts to dredging company Devcon TCI Ltd. and construction company Volker Construction International BV/Volker Stevin Caribbean NV.

The Prosecutor’s Office is holding Heyliger responsible for accepting bribes of US $300,000 in total, “knowing or reasonably suspecting that this was offered to him in order to persuade him to act in violation of his duty,” it was stated in R.M.’s indictment.

R.M. was also accused of the attempted bribery of other government officials. Between August 23, 2006, and August 20, 2018, he is said to have paid sums of money originating from construction and dredging companies, such as Ballast Nedam International BV, Devcon, Windward Roads and Volker Construction/Volker Stevin, to one or more civil servants to persuade them to award government contracts to these companies.

These crimes were allegedly committed in St. Maarten, the former Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands, Anguilla, the Isle of Man, Panama and St. Kitts and Nevis, the indictment had stated.

The Dutch consultant is also suspected of money laundering in the amount of NAf. 8,987,532, from January 1, 1997, and of having failed to file income tax, turnover tax and profit tax from August 23, 2006.

R.M. was arrested by the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service FIOD in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on August 23, 2018 at the request of the TBO and was flown to St. Maarten last year for questioning in the Larimar case. Last year in connection with this investigation the offices of Windward Roads in St. Maarten were searched and its then Director J.B. was arrested.

R.M. is also a suspect in the Dutch investigation “Frozen,” in which one of the construction companies from which he has received money is under investigation by the FIOD and the National Prosecutor’s Office. Frozen is the investigation into the involvement of VolkerWessels subsidiaries in the construction of the causeway in St. Maarten. In cooperation with investigating authorities in Dutch St. Maarten, French St. Martin, the Netherlands and Spain, real estate of R.M. was seized in these countries and searches were conducted.

“Research has shown that R.M. through the years has received millions of dollars from different [construction – Ed.] companies on various offshore bank accounts. R.M. is suspected of having paid [part of] these funds to politicians on St. Maarten,” the TBO had said in a press release last year. “By use of this method, R.M. obtained illegally an estimated profit of approximately NAf. 9 million (US $5 million).”

Bron: Daily Herald

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