GREAT BAY – Governor Drs. Eugène Holiday signed the extradition papers for casino owner Francesco Corallo last Friday. This means that Corallo will leave his cell at the Philipsburg police headquarters on short notice to leave for Italy.
The execution of the extradition can be arranged on short notice – within 48 hours – according to a spokesman for Corallo.
Corallo was arrested in December at the request of Italian authorities, but the formal completion of the extradition procedure took a long time. In spite of several requests to let Corallo await a decision in freedom, the court kept the businessman behind bars.
Corallo’s attorney Eldon ‘Peppi’ Sulvaran filed for cassation against the court’s decision to extradite his client to Italy, reportedly against Corallo’s wishes. The cassation was later withdrawn, opening the way for Governor Holiday to sign off on the extradition paperwork.
Corallo has in the meantime fired Sulvaran as his attorney and he is now using the services of local attorney Jairo Bloem to handle the conclusion of his extradition as soon as possible.
There is a possibility that the Italian authorities will release Corallo shortly after his arrival in Rome. Other suspects who have been arrested in this case, like Corallo’s financial man Rudolf Baetsen, have served the maximum term of six months in pretrial detention. Corallo has served more than that time in St. Maarten and his attorneys have argued that the time he spent behind bars in St. Maarten also counts for the term in Italy.
The public prosecutor in Rome requested Corallo’s extradition based on suspicions of tax evasion to the tune of €250 million, but Sulvaran denied these allegations on behalf of his client in May in an elaborate statement, saying that Corallo’s company Global Starnet is in full compliance with the law and that the dispute with the Italian authorities is only about the late payment of taxes. The statement said that Global Starnet has in the meantime paid all outstanding taxes, including the 10 percent penalty for late payment.
After Corallo was arrested in December, the public prosecutor’s office seized a casino, a yacht, two other boats, expensive watches and 78 apartments, based on an authorization from the Italian authorities to seize property up to a value of $226 million.