Businessman Arrindell on trial for removing seized yacht ‘Jefe’ | THE DAILY HERALD

The confiscated luxury yacht “Jefe” at Bobby’s Marina in July 2018.


PHILIPSBURG–Businessman O’Neal Arrindell, who was arrested August 21, 2018, on the order of the Prosecutor’s Office for intentionally removing the luxury yacht Jefe which had been seized by the Prosecutor’s Office on July 11, 2018, will have to face charges in a court of law on March 21, it was decided Thursday during a preliminary hearing.

  The Anti-Corruption Taskforce detained Arrindell and took him into custody at the time. He could potentially face a maximum imprisonment of four years for the withdrawal of goods that have previously been seized in the context of a criminal financial investigation.

  Arrindell, who is the owner of Checkmate Security, is a suspect in the Emerald investigation in which he and suspended Port St. Maarten Group of Companies Chief Executive Officer Mark Mingo are accused of defrauding the Port of a total of US $11 million over a number of years.

  According to the Prosecutor’s Office in August last year, the vessel Jefe was in the scaffoldings at Bobby’s Marina at the time of seizure and was not allowed to be moved or launched into the water. However, the boat was no longer present during a Coast Guard inspection at Bobby’s Marina on July 22.

  A search of the area yielded nothing. Further investigation showed that the vessel had sailed to Anguilla earlier that day. The Coast Guard, at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, went to Anguilla to retrieve the yacht, towed it to the Coast Guard substation in St. Maarten and once again seized it.

  It emerged during Thursday’s preliminary hearing that two Coast Guard officers will be questioned about the course of events during the confiscation of the vessel, on the request of the defence.

  Arrindell’s lawyer Brenda Brooks also filed requests to hear two more Coast Guard officials, as well as boat manager Yamiv Eliyahu. These requests were granted by the court.

  Eliyahu, who is a resident of Miami, Florida, is accusing the St. Maarten Prosecutor’s Office and the Anti-Corruption Taskforce TBO of illegally confiscating the yacht and demands its immediate return.

  In an interview with The Daily Herald on Tuesday, February 5, Eliyahu said he manages the yacht on behalf of United States (US) citizen Stephen Angelo Dimarco.

  “I have the proof, documents, and past and current mortgage payment bills for years on the boat. It does not belong to Arrindell,” said the frustrated Miami businessman in the interview. He said his company Yacht Charters of Miami manages the vessel.

  He hired a maritime lawyer from the US and filed a federal lawsuit against St. Maarten’s Prosecutor’s Office in Miami in October 2018 in which he claimed the vessel had been seized illegally.

  TBO spokesman Roderick Gouverneur said in response that Eliyahu had initiated court procedures to re-claim the boat and to stop the sale, but that he had lost the procedure. He said the judge had ruled in closed council that Eliyahu was not within his rights and that it concerned a “sham construction.”

  According to Gouverneur, the boat has an estimated value of 550,000 euros and has not yet been sold.

Source: The Daily Herald