PHILIPSBURG–The Court of Appeals on Tuesday afternoon declared the extradition of businessman Francesco Corallo to Italy permissible. Judicial authorities in Italy officially requested the extradition of the owner of various casinos on St. Maarten on January 12.
Via a brief video-conference from Curaçao, Corallo was informed that the Joint Court considered his extradition permissible, and that the Court will give the Governor of St. Maarten a positive advice. The extradition case was heard in Court on May 16, and on June 6.
In its advice to the Governor, the Appeals Court said that in taking a decision on the extradition it should be taken into account that Corallo, in case of a conviction, must be able to sit out the remainder of his sentence in St. Maarten.
Based on a “Red Notice” issued by Interpol, the Anti-Corruption Team TBO of the Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team RST arrested Corallo on request of the authorities in Italy on December 13, 2016. He is suspected of tax evasion, misappropriation of money, money laundering, and membership in an international criminal organisation.
Corallo may appeal the Joint Court’s decision at the High Court in The Hague. This procedure may take up to one year. The Governor has the final word on the extradition, in case the High Court would also find the extradition permissible.
The Joint Court of Justice has not made a decision on Corallo’s detention, and a possible release on bail, as yet. A decision on these matters is expected to be given today, Wednesday, at 2:00pm.
Corallo has been held in detention at the Police Station for six months. Since then his lawyers filed requests for Corallo’s conditional release on December 19, 2016, and on February 2, and March 21, which were all turned down by the Joint Court.
In April, Corallo filed a complaint with the European Human Rights Court protesting the fact that he has been staying in a cell which measured 16 square meters and which he often had to share with five, six or seven other persons. Furthermore, the cells were dark and unhygienic and there was a foul odour. The unhygienic circumstances caused a dental infection, Corallo claimed in citing abuse of his human rights.