The Daily Herald – Criminal investigation into lawyer dropped due to mistakes

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PHILIPSBURG — Due to serious errors in the criminal investigation by attorney PAB and her law firm in the so-called “Aquamarine investigation,” the district attorney’s office said Monday it had dismissed the case. charge against this lawyer.

The Aquamarine investigation was launched in September 2016 and is placed under the responsibility of the central team of the public prosecutor’s office in Curaçao, Saint-Martin, Bonaire, Saint-Eustache and Saba. The investigation was carried out by the Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST (“Research Samenwerkingsteam”)

In this investigation, St. Maarten attorney B. was suspected of fraud, forgery and money laundering. Searches were carried out at his home and in his law firm at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019 under the direction of the investigating judge. During these searches, various documents and digital data were seized.

A complaint was filed by B. and the law firm against this seizure in the Court of First Instance, alleging that her right to privilege as a lawyer had been violated.

In the complaint procedure, which took place from the end of 2019 to the present day, it emerged that several irreparable formal errors had been made by the prosecution, the investigating judge and the RST in the seizure and subsequent processing of the documents potentially privileged. and data from B. and his law firm, the prosecutor’s office said.

“After careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances, the Prosecution has concluded that this not only violated the (derivative) right to privilege to which B. and his law firm were entitled, but also potentially violated his right to a trial. fair,” the prosecutor said. the prosecutor’s office said.

The prosecution considers that the errors made by the prosecutors, the office of the investigating judge and the RST are so serious that the prosecution considers itself inadmissible in the pursuit of the proceedings against B. Therefore, the criminal case against the lawyer has been classified. Attorney B. did not respond to a request for comment.

In the Aquamarine inquest, former Member of Parliament (MP) Frans Richardson was sentenced by the Magistrates Court on November 15, 2021 to 12 months and payment of the proceeds of crime from NAF. 666,000 and NAF. 192,690. He was also banned from standing for public office for three years.

Richardson was found guilty of demanding large sums of money from the construction company Taliesin, or its contractor and store owner Low Price Lumber Hardware, to repair storm damage to the “LEA Building ” in which the government agency Bureau Telecommunication and Post (BTP) is located. This is the repair of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.

In exchange for the money, Richardson used his influence as a politician to ensure that Taliesin would obtain contracts for maintenance and repair work for BTP and to expedite the payment of existing contracts with BTP.

In addition, Richardson participated in a contract between Advanced Communications and Technology Services NV ACTIS and BTP, which closed on March 16, 2012. ACTIS became the managing company for the Saint-Martin numbering plan on June 15, 2012.

Richardson, through its interest in Caribbean Value Estate Ltd. (CVE) and CVE’s stake in ACTIS, had a financial interest in the contract between BTP and ACTIS, under which BTP made payments to ACTIS, the court said, adding that Richardson had received dividends. of ACTIS.

As a Member of Parliament and member of the TEATT parliamentary committee, Richardson was also a supervisor of BTP. He supervised the contracts concluded by BTP with third parties, including ACTIS, and their financial consequences, the court then specified.

In addition, he misused his political office as a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications (TEATT) and the Finance Committee for personal gain between March 16, 2012 and on September 23, 2019, it was said in the court decision of November 17, 2021.

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