Published On: Wed, May 23rd, 2018

MP Richardson to court on June 11

Frans under pressurePHILIPSBURG – On Monday June 11, MP Frans Richardson (United St. Maarten party – USp) will appear in court as a suspect in the Emerald and Squid investigations. Together with Richardson, former port director Mark Mingo and Checkmate Security director O’Neal Arrindell will make a court appearance. The court hearing begins at 9 a.m.

The trial is the result of work by the anti-corruption task force (TBO – Team Bestrijding Ondermijning).

While the exact charges will only be revealed at the trial, the prosecutor’s office has previously announced that Richardson is suspected of tax fraud, taking $370,000 in bribes and membership of a criminal organization whose objective was to buy votes for Richardson during the 2016 elections.

In the course of this investigation, Richardson’s residency came into question. On February 14 of this year, TBO-officers searched Richardson’s house – on the French side of the island. Current legislation seems to establish that Richardson is nevertheless eligible to take part in elections on the Dutch side because he is registered at the census office on a Dutch-side address.

Legal observers have pointed out that this amounts to forgery but so far, no steps have been taken against the parliamentarian.

Arrindell and Mingo are suspects in the Emerald-investigation. From previous court cases against other suspects it appears that Arrindell ordered his bookkeeper to manufacture invoices in the name of several sole proprietorship construction companies; these invoices were sent to the harbor, where director Mingo approved them for payment, even though at least some of the work specified on the invoices was never done.

In the afternoon Akeem Arrindell, a cousin of O’Neal Arrindell, will appear in court; he was previously sentenced to 240 hours of community service and a 12-month conditional prison sentence for his involvement in the Emerald-scandal. The public prosecutor has appealed this verdict.