Former Curacao PM released from custody but remains a suspect in money laundering investigation
Former prime minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte was ordered to be released from custody late on Tuesday by a local magistrate, after attorney Eldon ‘Peppie’ Sulvaran had filed for Schotte’s immediate release on Tuesday morning.
“The magistrate indicated that in view of the extensive content of the file and the fact that Mr Schotte does not know who the witnesses, who have yet to be heard are, the continuation of the detention is not necessary,” spokesman Guillano Schoop of the Public Prosecutor said.
The former prime minister remains a suspect in the matter, as well as his domestic partner Cicely van der Dijs, who was released from custody last Thursday. Schotte was arrested on Tuesday of last week at the television studios of CBA, after he had given an interview. Van der Dijs was arrested at home shortly after.
About thirty supporters of Schotte’s political party Movementu Futuro Kòrsou (MFK)MFK, including van der Dijs and his father Hendrik Schotte, were present to support him on Tuesday afternoon at the Public Prosecution’s office. With whistles, bells and microphones they supported the MFK leader, who appeared briefly at the window, with loud applause. During the previous eight days Schotte had been held in a police cell.
A police raid last week on a house in Italy was reportedly in connection with the case. Several witnesses were also questioned in Italy, St Maarten and Curacao. This case relates to 52 unusual transaction reports that Schotte is said to have been involved with, including through the bank account of van der Dijs.
This money reportedly came from casino magnate Francesco Corallo, who comes from Italy and owns several casinos in St Maarten. Corallo was at one time on the INTERPOL wanted list, but he turned himself in to the Italian authorities.