PHILIPSBURG–KPMG Dutch Caribbean (KPMG DC) has denied any connection with casino owner Francisco Corallo as suggested by Members of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Ronald van Raak of the Socialist Party (SP) and André Bosman of the liberal democratic VVD.
The Dutch MPs sought clarity on Thursday on the possible involvement of the accountancy firm in the gambling industry in Curaçao and St. Maarten.
In a statement published in the Curaçao Chronicle, KPMG DC said it “regretted” that Van Raak and Bosman had not contacted the firm before submitting their parliamentary questions.
“Because of all the attention, we feel compelled by these parliamentary questions to come up with a public statement,” the firm was quoted as saying. “KPMG DC is the auditor of the telecommunications company UTS [United Telecommunications Services – Ed]. The suggested link between UTS and KPMG on the one hand and Robbie’s Lotteries and Francesco Corallo on the other hand does not exist.
“KPMG DC today, following the interview of Mr. Bosman on Radio Direct, took note for the first time of the statement made by Mr. Corallo in the Dutch newspaperVolkskrant. Mr. Corallo made this statement on September 15, 2015, and announced in this interview that his books are audited by KPMG. This information is incorrect. The audit by KPMG DC referred to by Mr. Corallo in this interview was at a company affiliated with him in St. Maarten and has been formally terminated in early 2015.”
KPMG said it had not done any audits at any of Corallo’s businesses in previous years.
About the background of the termination, KPMG DC stated: “We will not make any statements other than that the termination came about on our initiative.”
In the series of written questions submitted to Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur and Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, Van Raak and Bosman referred to various media reports regarding sports betting, the (illegal) gambling industry, St. Maarten casino owner Francesco Corallo, the Dutch Caribbean telecom provider UTS and the role of KPMG.
One of these media reports is an article that appeared in the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant of September 5, 2015, headlined “You are watching too much of the Godfather,” in which Corallo confirmed that he had given money to local politicians, as many other local businessmen did, but that he had kept to the rules and that KPMG had checked his financial administration.
Van Raak and Bosman asked the two Ministers whether they were aware that KPMG checked Corallo’s books. The Members of Parliament (MPs) wanted to know whether the Ministers agreed that this made KPMG’s position “vulnerable.”
The MPs referred to Transparency International (TI), which indicated in its 2015 St. Maarten National Integrity System Assessment report that there were close links between the St. Maarten gambling industry and the local political establishment. “Is there a risk of an adverse effect for the Kingdom because of the link between Corallo and KPMG?” they asked