Published On: Fri, Jun 7th, 2019

Prosecutor’s Office dispels rumor about hoard of cash seized in EURO investigation case

ART confiscated truck - EURO case
PHILIPSBURG — The spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor’s Office was quick to dispel the rumors circulating on social media that a hoard of cash was also seized during a coordinated action of the Asset Recovery Team (ART) on French Saint Martin to confiscate heavy equipment trucks, vehicles and a boat as a part of the EURO investigation. “No that’s a rumor.” the spokesperson wrote when queried by StMaartenNews.com. “Only the boat and vehicles were confiscated.”

The fake news was published on a fake Facebook page and the photos, video and voice note circulated on Whatsapp were also clearly fake as Spanish police officers could be seen in the photos of hoards of Euro cash being found in a warehouse at an unknown location. Some of these “Policia” officers could be heard speaking Spanish in the video recording as a block of concrete was being smashed with a sledge hammer uncovering a pack of – what now turned out to be cocaine – wrapped in plastic hidden in the block. The circulated voice note spoke of authorities finding this cash under the floor of the house in Grand Case. However, the photos and the video are not related to the seizures executed this week by the Asset Recovery Team (ART) on Saint Martin.

ART confiscated pickup - EURO case

On Wednesday, June 5, 2019, the Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a press release that the Asset Recovery Team St. Maarten in collaboration with the French Gendarmerie had seized a total of 7 vehicles, 2 boats and 1 scooter during a search at a home in Grand Case on French Saint Martin the previous day on Tuesday, June 4.

This raid was carried out as a part of the EURO investigation in which R.A.G. (39) is a suspect. R.A.G. is suspected of money laundering and tax evasion, among other things. R.A.G. was however not arrested, the press release stated. A stolen vehicle was also found during the search.

ART confiscated boat - EURO case

Also seized during the coordinated actions of the ART and the French Gendarmes was a luxury speedboat. According to reports this boat is estimated to be worth a lot of money. When also asked by StMaartenNews.com whether the rumors are true that confiscated boats and other assets are being auctioned off in places like Tortola whereby only European Dutch people are allowed to bid on and buy these items, the Prosecuter’s Office spokesperson declared these rumors to be false as well.

According to our investigation, the stage of auctioning off the items confiscated by the Asset Recovery Team in the various ongoing investigations has not being reached as yet. Furthermore, suspects still have the opportunity to present proof that the items seized were obtained legitimately.

The Asset Recovery Team (ART) St. Maarten is a collaborative effort between the St. Maarten Police Force (KPSM), the St. Maarten Tax Administration, Customs, the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard and the Public Prosecutor’s Office St. Maarten. The Asset Recovery Team was set up on the principle that crime should not pay. Proceeds generated by the Asset Recovery Team are for the benefit of Country St. Maarten.

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NEWS UPDATE: Spanish police seize tonne of cocaine hidden in fake stones