GREAT BAY – The Team Combating Undermining (team bestrijding ondermijning – TBO) arrested the owner of Checkmate Security, O’Neal A. yesterday morning after searches at the company’s offices on Illidge Road, at the port and at the Sun Tan Villas and Apartments Hotel (aka Rama Hotel) in Pointe Blanche.
Corruption and fraud investigation
Investigators seized a number of bank accounts and, in cooperation with the French authorities, they seized a yacht as well. More searches cannot be excluded, the prosecutor’s office said last night.
It is the second time within three months that the 35-year-old Checkmate-director is on the radar of law enforcement. On August 22, he was briefly detained for questioning about a shooting that took place on May 28 in the parking garage of the Westin Hotel in Dawn Beach.
Detectives conducted in August house searches at A.’s home in Pointe Blanche and at three of his offices – two in Pointe Blanche and one on the Illidge Road. The suspects in this so-called Mahi Mahi investigation are suspected of money laundering. The prosecutor’s office confirmed yesterday that O’Neal A. is still a suspect in this case.
Yesterday’s searches by the TBO-team of the Detective Collaboration Team RST under the supervision of Judge of Instruction Johannes Schols focus on tax fraud, forgery and money laundering.
This investigation – dubbed Emerald – is part of the collaborative and intense approach of border-crossing corruption and fraud – also called undermining.
“Undermining, like corruption and money laundering, are a serious threat to the security and the economy of the countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom,” the prosecutor’s office stated in a press release.
The Emerald investigation began in April following newspaper reports about the contract Checkmate signed with the port authority. During the investigation suspicions arose about tax fraud, forgery and money laundering.
Port management sent out a press statement yesterday morning after the TBO team came with a search warrant to the A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities. “It is evident that the search is being conducted in connection with criminal investigations against a third person,” the statement read. “Neither the port nor any person connected to the port has been named as a suspect in the matter.”
Port management said that it is fully cooperating with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, in according with its legal obligations.