Larimar case to be heard March 2020 | THE DAILY HERALD


Eldon “Peppie” Sulvaran is the lawyer for Theodore Heyliger and his stepfather G.H.W.P. in the “Larimar” investigation.


PHILIPSBURG–The hearings in the “Larimar” investigation involving corruption, money-laundering and payment of bribes to a public official and civil servants in St. Maarten by construction companies to be awarded big projects will be taking place March 9-13, 2020, the Court of First Instance announced during Friday’s preliminary hearing.

  Suspects in this case are Dutch consultant R.M., suspended Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore Heyliger and his stepfather G.H.W.P., as well as R.J.E. and former Windward Roads Director J.B.

  R.M. is the crown witness in this case as well as one of the main suspects. He is charged with the alleged bribery of then-Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure Heyliger in 2011.

  Heyliger is accused of receiving approximately US $4 million in total over a period of 15 years while holding public office as a minister, an island council member or a member of parliament.

  He is suspected of having used his influence to facilitate the awarding of one or more public-works contracts to Windward Roads, dredging company Devcon TCI Ltd., Volker Construction International BV, and Volker Stevin Caribbean NV in return. The Volker payments were allegedly in connection with the building of the causeway bridge.

  Former director of Windward Roads B.V. and co-suspect B. also faces an extensive list of charges, including the payment of in total some $1.8 million, and repairs done to Heyliger’s private home to the tune of NAf. 135,292 to be awarded one or more public construction projects.

  1. is also accused of falsifying numerous invoices between 2013 and 2015 to pay a number of companies a total of $627,726 for fictitious work never carried out on behalf of Windward Roads.

  Suspects E. and P. are charged with fraud in connecting connection with the sale of a piece of land, the so-called “Mullen property.”


Crown witness

  Witnesses for the defence are scheduled to be heard by an investigating judge early November. During the first preliminary hearing, which was held in May, the judge approved eight witnesses to be heard by the defence team, including major witness M. who was to appear personally in Court to answer questions from the defence.

  On Friday, the Prosecutor called on the Court to reconsider, as M. had been transferred from the Pointe Blanche prison to the Netherlands late 2017/early 2018 for safety reasons.

  Since his release from pre-trial detention M. is under a system of “surveillance and security,” the Prosecutor said, which means that if he would have to be transferred to St. Maarten for five to seven days to testify in his case, “severe” security measures would have to be taken for his protection.

  1. would have to reside in a protected area in or near St. Maarten, he would have to be transported to and from the Courthouse in an armoured car with a police escort, and extra security measures, such as security gates, would have to be taken in the Courthouse and in its surroundings.

  Hearing M. as a crown witness in this case would pose a risk, and if someone would want to harm M. this would not only put him at risk but also others in the courtroom, including his co-suspects, their lawyers and the public, the Prosecutor cautioned.

  A Dutch lawyer of a crown witness was shot dead last month. In response to the fatal incident the Prosecutor’s Office in the Netherlands has tightened security measures for the protection of crown witnesses.

  As M.’s lawyer is also concerned about the safety of his “very frail” client, the Prosecutor suggested two alternatives for the hearing of suspect M.: via video-conferencing, or by a visiting committee from St. Maarten consisting of the judge, the Prosecutor and the defence. “The suspect could be heard in the Netherlands in a much safer way,” was the Prosecutor’s conclusion.

  Heyliger’s lawyer Eldon “Peppie” Sulvaran insisted that M. should be heard in St. Maarten, just as the other suspects in this case.

  “M. is the main suspect. … He put more than 15 million in his pocket. He is being put up in a hotel, receives three million and has homes in the Netherlands, French St. Martin and Spain. We do not want money, but we do not want Heyliger to be locked up,” Sulvaran said in stating that M. did not deserve any “preferential treatment.”

  The judge did not immediately decide on the matter but said he will present his decision on the Prosecutor’s request on November 14.


Medical experts

  To the defence’s dismay, the Prosecutor also called on the Court to appoint an independent medical expert to ascertain Heyliger’s fitness for detention.

  Heyliger’s three-month pre-trial detention was suspended in May due to his health condition. A tumour was found in one of his kidneys, which was surgically removed in the United States. Sulvaran informed the Court on Friday that his client would have to return to the United States for additional surgery in January 2020.

  The Prosecutor’s Office said it did not have the intention to put Heyliger behind lock and key again, but said this could be a possibility at the end of these legal proceedings.

  The Judge dismissed the request to appoint a medical expert, as he said there was “no reason to doubt Heyliger’s health status.”

Source: The Daily Herald