Published On: Fri, Dec 20th, 2019

Insufficient evidence against Robbie dos Santos

Robbie Dos Santos free - screenshot 20191220

PHILIPSBURG/WILLEMSTAD – Lottery king Robbie dos Santos has been released from prison today. This morning the Court of Appeal in Curaçao ruled that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has not provided sufficient evidence to detain Dos Santos any longer on suspicion of involvement in the murder of politician Helmin Wiels in Curaçao.

At a quarter past one this afternoon Robertico dos Santos (62), the owner of Robbie’s Lottery, left the prison under loud cheers from family, friends and workers who were waiting for him at the gate. He had been detained in Sentro di Detenshon i Korekshon (SDDK) in Koraal Specht since November 19th. Allegedly there was new evidence in the high profiled murder case named Maximus, which gave grounds for the arrest of Dos Santos as accomplice in the assassination of Helmin Wiels. The then 54- year-old politician and anti-corruption activist was shot in broad daylight on 5 May 2013 on a crowded beach.

In August this year Robbie dos Santos’ half-brother, the former Curaçao finance minister George Jamaloodin was found guilty of provoking Wiels’ murder. It was deemed proven that he had given the order and the money for the murder. The court sentenced Jamaloodin to 28 years in prison. Earlier the shooter, Elvis Kuwas, and ‘crime broker’ Burney Fonseca were sentenced to irrevocable prison sentences; Kuwas for life and Fonseca 26 years. Both are detained in the Netherlands.

Dos Santos’ lawyer Eldon ‘Peppie’ Sulvaran revealed in the media that during the prosecution of his client, the public prosecutor alleged that Dos Santos had bid two million for the murder of the politician. The suspect maintains that he has nothing to do with the death of Wiels. His lawyer speaks of illegal deprivation of liberty. “They’ve held Robbie for nothing,” said Sulvaran this morning as he left the court. The lawyer referred to the arrest of Dos Santos in 2014, one year after the murder. Then he was released after four days due to lack of evidence. “From the moment his name was associated with the Wiels assassination, a misrepresentation arose that was fueled by unfounded remarks from the public prosecutor, such as: ‘Robbie paid for the murder.’ There is no basis for these statements whatsoever.”After the lottery king was arrested on November 17th in his house in Beacon Hill on St. Maarten and was transferred to Curaçao, he received a lot of support from people saying it has taken the Prosecution too long to present credible evidence in the six-year-old murder case.

On November 20, 2019, his brother Amparo dos Santos offered a $ 1 million reward for the golden tip to solve the murder. Robbie’s Lottery started a media campaign stating Dos Santos is innocent and employees in both Curaçao and St. Maarten took to the streets to protest, scanting ‘Free Robbie’. The prosecution has been monitoring Dos Santos since he was tried and convicted for tax evasion and money laundering and court seized 72.5 million guilders ($40.2 million) from the lottery boss. But according to lawyer Sulvaran, that case is completely separate from the murder of Wiels. The lawyer states that his client hardly had any contact with murder broker Burney Fonseca prior to Wiels’ assassination. However, after his arrest in 2014, Dos Santos said that Fonseca was an acquaintance of his. Fonseca is known to have arranged sponsors for the political party MFK of the former Curacao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte. Since December 5th last year Schotte has been imprisoned in SDDK for corruption and money laundering. After being held in a police cell for two weeks, Dos Santos’ detention was determined by the court on December 3 for a maximum of 60 days. The appeal hearing of the request for exemption from detention took place behind closed doors this morning. Sulvaran made it public that the Prosecution believes that Dos Santos has raised suspicion about himself by making contradictory statements.

Robbie Dos Santos speaking to the press - screenshot 20191220

“They just held me to put pressure on me. But I don’t know anything about the murder,” Robbie dos Santos said as he left the prison.


Image captions: Robbie dos Santos being interviewed upon his release by Vigilante in Curacao. Screenshots taken from video post on Facebook.