Published On: Wed, Mar 11th, 2020

TBO releases press statement and video explaining LARIMAR case

~ Prosecutor demands prison time in ‘LARIMAR’ investigation ~

PHILIPSBURG — The Anti-Corruption Team (TBO, Team Bestrijding Ondermijning) has issued a public statement via the office of the Public Prosecution Service in Bonaire outlining the details of the LARIMAR case about corruption in Sint Maarten together with an animation video explaining what the corruption case is all about.

According to the press release the Larimar case is about corruption in Sint Maarten. It concerns payments of bribes around several major construction projects and money laundering. Several individuals are suspects in this case. Explanation of the case and evidence brought forward by the Prosecution can be found in the animation video attached to the press release and can be found online on Youtube via the following link: https://youtu.be/A2XnDrhFTVA.

For the convenience of our readers and viewers, StMaartenNews.com has embedded this animation video into this article below:

Penalties demanded
The press release goes on to list the demands the Prosecutor presented in the cases against the defendants H. (Theo Heyliger), B. (JanHendrik Boekaar), P. (George Pelgrim) and E. (Ron Elferink).

The Prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of six and a half years for Theo Heyliger as the main suspect in the Larimar case. The demands also include the dispossession of unlawfully obtained profits, meaning Heyliger can expect to see his assets and/or monies confiscated if convicted. The judge has already announced a ruling to be made on Friday, April 24, 2020.

A prison sentence of one year was demanded for suspect B. The Prosecutor demanded community service of 140 hours for the suspects E. and P. The Prosecutor demanded a prison sentence of three years in the criminal case against crown witness, M. (the consultant, Ronald Maasdam), the press release also stated.

The press release goes on to outline that the charges included two one-time projects for which bribes have been paid: a dredging contract for the port and the construction of the Causeway Bridge. In addition, the case concerns the longstanding and structural relationship that existed between a local construction company and politicians on Sint Maarten. A fixed amount had been agreed to be paid monthly and a percentage for each project.

Crown witness
Most interesting is the explanation that an agreement has been made with the suspect M., whereby the Prosecutor will demand a lower sentence in exchange for testimony against the other defendants. This agreement has been cross-checked based on three criteria: seriousness of the offense (ernst van het feit), the least far-carrying measures (subsidiarity) and reliability (betrouwbaarheid). The fact that the current Code of Criminal Procedure of Sint Maarten has no regulation for this is not an obstacle, such agreements are recognized and permitted in the case law of the Supreme Court, the release noted.

Quotes from the charges
The Prosecutor addressed the perception that in this case “real” Sint Maarteners were being unfairly and harshly judged, while there was more lenience towards the “Dutchies”. This perception is incorrect. The Dutch construction companies involved in this case did not escape prosecution. The Office of the Public Prosecutor and the Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), in the Netherlands, has started an investigation into this company. The statements of the crown witness in this case play an important role, according to the press release.

The Dutch parent company of the construction company on Sint Maarten will not get away with a “slap on the wrist”, but it will have to pay a monetary penalty of $2 million. This is to be paid in the form of a project for Country Sint Maarten. The former director of this company, one of the five suspects, also stood trial this week. Although the crown witness has been granted a lesser sentence, he is still facing a three-year prison term. While the deprivation of the crown witness’ unlawfully acquired assets may be deemed modest, on the other hand he must relinquish real estate and the life he had built up.

Belair Community Center - Venue Larimar Court Case - 2020030906 JH

‘Theo Heyliger is good for the island, but he is even better for himself’ – Public Prosecution Service

Therefore, the Sint Maarten politician is not the only one who pays a price for the long duration of criminal offenses. He can be seen as the driving force behind a number of developments and construction projects that are important for St. Maarten, such as the expansion of cruise tourism to the island and the construction of the Causeway Bridge. However this is and should not be an excuse for corruption.

Moreover, certainly not if this corruption means that the taxpayer pays millions more for government projects, so that H. can also fill his own pockets. As a result, the people’s trust in the public administration of Sint Maarten has been violated.


Related links:
Press release TBO explaining LARIMAR case and Prosecution demands
Press release TBO explaining LARIMAR case and Prosecution demands – in Dutch
Public Prosecutor’s Office demands Heyliger be immediately imprisoned
Theo Heyliger: ‘I never accepted money from Maasdam’
Heyliger denies everything
“Don’t pay Theo? That question did not arise.”
Larimar-trial: 3 years demand against Maasdam, UP board claims innocence for Heyliger
Heyliger and four others stand trial in large bribery-case
UP Board: Prosecutor presents no physical evidence against Theo Heyliger
Photo reportage start LARIMAR trial at Belair Community Center