Lottery king of Curaçao in court after eight years of investigation
WILLEMSTAD – Yesterday was the start of the major anti-corruption case against the lottery king of Curaçao, Robbie dos Santos. The man who sells the most lottery tickets on the island is suspected of sixteen criminal offenses. According to the Public Prosecution (OM), Dos Santos laundered millions of dollars, manufactured false lottery tickets that could never win any prize and evaded paying millions of guilders in taxes.
The OM has been investigating this case for over eight years. In 2012 the case took a remarkable turn when former Minister of Justice Elmer Wilsoe personally wrote a letter to the then U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton to pry into 27 million dollars in frozen funds in the U.S. that belongs to Dos Santos. The Netherlands then intervened via their Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal.
According to the OM there were five ministers in the cabinet of Gerrit Schotte involved in the illegal practice of Dos Santos or they prevented Justice to gather evidence. Among them was former Prime Minister Schotte himself.
Schotte appeared before the court of justice last month on suspicion of corruption, money laundering and forgery. According to the OM, Schotte was under the influence of the mafia linked Italian, Francesco Corallo. The former prime minister heard a demand of three years in prison against him. The OM wants to also ban him from the political arena for five years. The court will make a decision on this case this coming Friday March 11.
Robbie dos Santos is also accused in the murder case of the former political leader Helmin Wiels. The popular politician was shot dead in May 2013 on a beach in Willemstad. Days before his death, Wiels announced that he was going to address the illegalities going on in the lottery business on the island.
The same lawyer, Eldon Sulvaran is defending all the defendants in these cases.
By Dick Drayer
Photo: Dos Santos (r) congratulating Schotte (l) after winning the election (credit: Dick Drayer)