Published On: Sat, Jun 8th, 2024

Supreme Court confirms conviction of former MP Frans Richardson

PHILIPSBURG — The Supreme Court in The Hague has confirmed the conviction of former parliamentarian Frans Richardson for accepting bribes and committing money laundering and tax fraud. The verdict issued by the Common Court of Justice on June 6, 2022, has now become irrevocable: 20 months in prison (with a deduction for time already served) and a 5 year ban on his right to be elected.

Richardson is the founder of the United St. Maarten party (USp) and a former member of the National Alliance (NA). In the 2020 elections Richardson lost his seat in parliament and in the January 2024 elections the USp failed to win enough votes for a seat.

Now it seems that the 56-year old Richardson is soon going to join United People’s party (UP) founder Theo Heyliger at the Pointe Blanche prison.

Richardson filed for cassation at the Supreme Court against his 2022 conviction but to no avail. The highest court in the Kingdom dismissed all arguments of his attorney Sjamira Roseburg.

The conviction is associated with Richardson accepting bribes to the tune of $370,000 in exchange for his support for a dredging project at the port of St. Maarten, money laundering and tax fraud.

The bribes were deposited in bank accounts Richardson held in Anguilla. He confessed during an interrogation that he had withdrawn the money in cash and that he had spent it. Because he did not report the bribes and the associated interest income as well as the balance of his Anguilla-based bank accounts on his tax returns, the court also sentenced Richardson for tax fraud.

Richardson was arrested on February 14, 2018, and (after four interrogations) released again on February 23. The Court in First Instance heard statements from sixteen witnesses between June 11, 2018, and November 2019. The court sentenced the former parliamentarians on January 29, 2020. Richardson appealed the verdict the same day. The court of appeals sentenced him on June 21, 2022.


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