Prosecutor reaches settlement in Larimar dispossession case
The Prosecutor's Office OM has reached a settlement with T.E.H. in the Larimar dispossession case.
The Larimar investigation started on 2 March 2017 and was conducted by the Recherche Samenwerkingsteam (RST) under the responsibility of the Central Team of the Attorney General's Office of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba.
On 15 May 2020, T.E.H. was sentenced by the Court of First Instance (CFI) in the Larimar criminal case to five years' imprisonment for accepting bribes and money laundering. The accused enriched himself for years as a politician at the expense of the citizens of St Maarten.
The convicted T.E.H. and the prosecution had appealed the verdict.
At the same time as the criminal case, a criminal financial investigation was launched by the RST to determine whether the Larimar defendants had gained any illegally obtained benefit. This investigation revealed that T.E.H. had indeed enriched himself by committing the offences for which he was convicted. Therefore, the public prosecutor started a deprivation case against T.E.H.
The prosecution and T.E.H. have reached a settlement in the proposed deprivation case. The settlement consists of paying a sum of money of US $5 million to the public prosecutor and waiving rights and rental income of various immovable properties. With this, T.E.H. renounces assets obtained by him unlawfully.
The amount will benefit the crime fund. Opting for a settlement agreement avoids lengthy court proceedings for both parties. The dispossession case is closed with the reaching of this settlement and the parties will request the Court of First Instance to declare the case closed on November 1.
Today, the prosecution and the defence informed the Court that they no longer had an interest in continuing the appeal hearing of the Larimar and Catfish criminal cases. The Court subsequently declared the prosecution’s appeal inadmissible. The criminal cases of T.E.H. are now closed and irrevocable. T.E.H. will receive a summons to serve his prison sentence.
Ensuring the integrity of the country and the application of law are important to the fabric of the community. This case showed how unlawful actions by a single official, to whom the care and development of the country has been entrusted, can slow down progress and cause sometimes irreparable damage to the present and future. The prosecution sees the conclusion of this case as a joint step towards a better future for the country.