PHILIPSBURG–For the fourth time in a row the Court of Appeals, on Friday, rejected the release of businessman Francesco Corallo from his extradition detention.
Previous requests to suspend Corallo’s detention were turned down by the Court on January 4, March 8, and on April 12.
On Tuesday, June 20, the Appeals Court ruled in favour of Corallo’s extradition to Italy to answer criminal charges including tax evasion, the misappropriation of money, money laundering and membership in an international criminal organisation. He may file for appeal against this decision with the High Court of the Netherlands in The Hague.
On Tuesday, the Joint Court advised the Governor of St. Maarten to extradite Corallo to Italy. The Court still had to decide on the request filed by Corallo’s legal team to suspend his detention. Corallo was arrested December 13, 2016. He has been detained at Philipsburg Police Station for six months.
The Court assumes that the casino boss is a wealthy man who made numerous travels in the past. It found it likely that Corallo would make an attempt to flee the island to escape his extradition in case he were a free man.
The Court stated that Corallo has been detained at the Police Statia because he is wealthy; therefore, he cannot be held at Pointe Blanche Prison for security reasons.
The Appeals Court considers Corallo’s detention legitimate, also because in a different legal procedure the Court prohibited the Prosecutor’s Office to transfer him to the prison on Curaçao. However, the Court added Corallo is free to voluntarily agree with a transfer to a detention centre in another country.
Also the fact that three other suspects in this case, among them Atlantis Group Chief Executive Officer Rudolf Baetsen (50), have in the meantime been released by the Italian authorities, cannot lead to suspension of Corallo’s detention in St. Maarten, the Court said.
“The release does not concern F.C., and it is not up to the Judge in extradition cases to anticipate on decisions concerning F.C.’s preliminary custody. That is up to the Judge in Italy,” the Joint Court of Justice said in a press release. The Court decision was not made public, as the procedure took place in a closed-door session.
The Appeals Court said there were no terms to suspend Corallo’s detention against payment of bail or any other conditions.