The media in the online gambling licensing jurisdiction Curacao are having a field day with corruption and organised crime allegations following the recent criminal conviction of former Curaçao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte (41).
Earlier this month Schotte was found guilty and sentenced to three years in jail on bribery charges in which it was claimed that St Maarten casino owner Francesco Corallo paid him more than US$1 million in exchange for political influence and government information.
At the time Dutch MP Ronald van Raak said in a written statement that he was “very happy” with the courts findings, “…because Schotte allowed himself to be paid by the gambling industry, in particular casino boss Francesco Corallo of St. Maarten, who has been associated with the mafia.”
Van Raak also opined that the Court’s three-year jail sentence on Schotte was justified by the damage the former prime minister has caused the people of Curacao, and that the consequent prohibition on Schotte from taking part in elections for the next five years would stop him from causing further damage.
Van Raak and another Dutch MP, Andre Bosman, are not done with the Curacao scandal yet, it appears. The duo revealed that a large-scale criminal investigation has been initiated involving the Netherlands, the United States and Italy and is probing alleged ties between the underworld and Curaçao and St. Maarten.
Van Raak and Bosman have written to the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ronald Plasterk and the Minister Justice and Security, Ard van der Steur, asking a number of questions:
1 Are you aware of the reports about possible illegal gambling in Curacao, focusing on digital sportsbetting (online casinos)?
2 Can you explain why the phenomenon of sportsbetting in Curacao has existed for more than 15 years, focusing on international markets, but there is no legislation for local markets and no control is exercised by local authorities, such as the Gaming Control Board?
3 Do you agree with us that the uncontrolled gambling industry from Curacao, involving demonstrable connections with people outside of Curaçao, as in the United States, could undermine the integrity of the Kingdom? If not, why not?
4 Has there been contact with the authorities (justice, tax, customs) from countries such as the US towards these cross-border gambling activities? If not, why not?
5 Are you aware of the statement by Mr Francesco Corallo, a casino owner in St. Maarten, (that) his finances are being audited by KPMG?
6 Do you agree with us that the position of KPMG is vulnerable because Transparency International also indicates that the gambling industry is heavily intertwined in St. Maarten with the political administration?
7 Does this constitute a risk factor for the Kingdom of the Netherlands because of the connection KPMG – Corallo – gambling industry? If not, why not?
8 Is there a risk factor for the Kingdom of the Netherlands because of the connection KPMG – UTS – Robbies Lottery – gambling industry? If not, why not?