PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – on Wednesday, the Court of First Instance found the leader of the USP and outgoing Member of Parliament, Frans Richardson guilty in the “Emerald” investigation.
The former Chief Executive Officer at the St. Maarten Port Authority M. Mingo, as well as businessman O .Arrindell was also found guilty.
The Emerald-investigation started in April 2016, following reports in the newspapers and questions asked in Parliament about the contract signed between the suspect’s security company and the port authority of St. Maarten. During this investigation suspicions arose about tax fraud, forgery and money laundering.
According to the OM at the time, the investigation is part of a joint intensified fight against international fraud and corruption. Corruption and money laundering threatens the security and economy of the countries in the Caribbean part of the Dutch Kingdom.
The special anti-corruption taskforce, TBO of the RST, together with the National Detectives Agencies of Curaçao and Sint Maarten and the Prosecutor’s Office have joined forces to combat corruption.
MP Richardson was sentenced to 36 months in prison for accepting US $370,000 as a reward for political support for a dredging project and for money laundering and tax fraud. In addition, he was relieved of his passive electoral rights for a period of five years.
“The Court of First Instance considers the proven facts to be very harmful to the confidence that the people of St. Maarten must be able to place in people in important positions, such as politicians and administrators of government companies.
The actions of the suspects, on whom others depend and who are being looked up to, therefore, also have an undermining influence on society,” the Court said in a brief press release on Tuesday afternoon.
They have two weeks to file an appeal.