Published On: Sat, Jul 6th, 2024

Conditional prison sentence for Emsley Tromp

WILLEMSTAD — The Court in First Instance sentenced Emsley Tromp and René Lourents to conditional prison sentences for forgery. The court acquitted both defendants of bribery and corruption. At the time of the alleged crimes, Tromp was President of the Central Bank of Curacao and St. Maarten (CBCS); Lourents was adjunct director for corporate relations and facilities management.

The Hercules-investigation began on February 1, 2019, as a follow up to the Saffier-investigation. The latter investigation focused on suspicions of corruption linked to a $400,000 transaction from Banco di Caribe to Tromp’s pension fund. In the end the charges were limited to tax fraud and that case ended in a complete acquittal.

In the case at hand Lourents established the Curacao Fashion Group at Tromp’s request. The real objective was to allow Tromp’s former partner Yanet de Castro (the relationship ended in the summer of 2011) to run a clothing store under that name. Lourents’ cooperation was required because De Castro was not a citizen of Curacao.

On June 3, 2009, the Fashion Group deposited $400,000 into Tromps’ pension fund under the guise that this was the repayment for a loan.

The court ruled that the loan agreement was fake and used this as the basis for a guilty verdict for forgery.

Under normal circumstances the court would have sentenced both Tromp and Lourents to unconditional prison sentences but because of a serious violation of the reasonable term, the court handed down conditional prison sentences.

Lourents’ attorney Marije Vaders told the court that the physical and emotional consequences of the investigation have hit her client hard. “His friends have turned away from him and he has lost his reputation. He has been unable to process the traumatic experience of ten days in pretrial detention and he has large debts. In 2020 he was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease. He underwent surgery and therapy and this has made a lasting impact to the extent that, according to the psychologist, he is unfit for detention.”

The court ignored these argument. “The defendant has committed forgery twice while he was an adjunct director at the CBCS. These are serious crimes. That detention can have a negative impact on the defendant is insufficient for the conclusion that he is unfit for detention. That requires proof that the medical attention the defendant needs cannot be provided in detention.”

After the CBCS suspended Lourents he was declared medically unfit. He took early retirement and currently lives off a disability-payment.

The media-attention the case generated is not a reason to mitigate the punishment either, the court ruled. “The defendant had a good reputation in Curacao and he should have realized that committing crimes would trigger negative media-attention.”

Because the court acquitted Lourents of bribery, it decided not to impose an additional punishment of banning him from working for a financial institution.

The court applied similar arguments in the ruling against Emsley Tromp.


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