WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao, (Mar 11 2016) – Former prime minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte was found guilty of bribery and ordered to serve three years in prison, a court ruled on Friday. It is equal to the demand made by the prosecutor handling the case.
Schotte was also told he was banned from holding elected office for a period of five years. The court ruling deemed that he had abused his government office in the money laundering and forgery scam.
He was accused of taking money from Sint Maarten casino owner Francesco Corallo to legislate in Corallo’s favor. The casino boss lives on Curacao and is reportedly connected to Italian organized crime. Schotte was arrested in May 2014 at a television station in Willemstad on the island. It was alleged that Corallo funneled money to Schotte’s political party, MFK, through business bank accounts accessible by Cicely van der Dijs, Schotte’s girlfriend and co-defendant.
Van der Dijs was also found guilty on Friday, and sentenced to an 18-month term, of which nine months were conditionally suspended. This was also equal to the prosecutor’s demand. What is then going to happen to Francesco Corallo is still unconfirmed, as well as no confirmation as to what is happening to the casino establishment he owns. Perhaps if it does close, the players that used to gamble here will end up opting for online gambling sources. The downfall of physical casinos has increased online gambling in many different countries, see this article written over on https://www.techtodayinfo.com/online-gambling-in-japan/ as an example.
Earlier this year, Schotte accused the Netherlands of spending millions pursuing a legal case in order to influence the next government of Curacao. By banning Schotte from elected office, he will not be allowed to run for leadership of the MFK political party he founded in 2010.
Schotte served as prime minister from 2010 to 2012. His home was raided in December 2013, seven months after his former coalition partner Helmin Wiels was found gunned down.