Van Raak addresses KPMG boss on gambling activities
THE HAGUE – Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) has asked Chairman of KPMG’s Board of Directors Albert Röell about the role of the accountancy and consultancy firm in the illegal gambling industry in Curaçao. This is according to a report from the Sint Maarten Daily Herald.
Van Raak did so in an open letter that was published on the Dutch news and opinion website ThePostOnline on Friday. The Member of Parliament (MP) pointed out that KPMG often served as an external consultant for government-owned companies in Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten and that he encountered the name of KPMG in his quest to expose the illegal gambling industry, especially in Curaçao. Bellmark Casino, Zon Casino, Neder Bet, Neder Gaming, Bit Casino, Sports Bet are all gambling companies that are aimed at the Dutch market and are registered in Curaçao.
“This island appears to be the centre of hundreds of illegal gambling companies that are active all over the world. The Curaçao Government has provided a small number of people, as holders of a master license, the opportunity to sell sub-licenses. This takes place without solid checks and supervision,”
explained Van Raak in his open letter to Röell.
“Now I don’t have to tell you that a lot of criminal money is laundered through the gambling industry. You may be asking yourself: ‘That is so nice of you Mr. Van Raak to tell me this, but what is my part in that?’ Well Mr. Röell that is exactly what I want to know of you.”
A large part of the online gambling companies operate through the local telecommunication company UTS, which is owned by Curaçao Government.
“And, what happens to be the case: KPMG Dutch Caribbean is active in UTS in many ways,” said Van Raak. “It is my understanding that KPMG people provide technical support, management consultancy services, they carry out research and sales activities and audit the books of UTS. The UTS boss came from KPMG, which also has been the external accountant of UTS,”
said Van Raak who pointed out that the firm also did the external audit of the companies of “dubious gambling entrepreneurs like Francesco Corallo, who is also tied to the Sicilian mafia.
” The MP mentioned KPMG’s Code of Conduct, recently established by Röell, which states that the company is “open and honest” in its communication and that “difficult situations” required a “candid” approach. “KPMG writes nice words in the Code of Conduct about difficult situations. I am afraid that we are dealing with an issue of a difficult nature. I would very much like to know how deeply involved your company is exactly in the illegal gambling industry,”
said Van Raak.
“KPMG has to perform checks for fraud and corruption. It would seem a good idea to start checking within KPMG itself. I would take a close look at the activities of the KPMG people in the Dutch Caribbean, starting with UTS.”
The MP said that he directed himself to Röell because so far the response of KPMG Dutch Caribbean had not been reassuring.
“They deny having connections with gambling bosses like Corallo, but at the same time declare that they have severed all ties with him last year. You can rest assure, we will continue with our own investigation.”
Van Raak mentioned the large-scale investigation into the gambling sector in Curaçao and St. Maarten which the Dutch Government has started with the assistance with the United States and Italy. Referring to this investigation, which was the result of an adopted motion of the Second Chamber which was initiated by Van Raak and André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD party, Van Raak advised Röell to be “candid” and to address the wrongdoings in the Dutch Caribbean.
“That is far better than to wait for what will surely happen anyway.”