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Millions seized in Aruba money laundering scheme

THE HAGUE/ORANJESTAD--Authorities in Aruba, the Netherlands and Belgium seized close to four million euros this week in a large money laundering investigation. Part of the money was hidden in meat packages destined for the Aruba market.

The Kingdom Detective Cooperation Team RST confiscated 2.8 million on Wednesday evening. The money was hidden in chicken meat stored in a refrigerated container in Aruba. Three suspects R.H., R.G. and H. van R. were arrested in Aruba on Tuesday.

More than 1.1 million euros was found during several searches in residencies and business establishments in Aruba, the Netherlands and Belgium on Tuesday. In Aruba more than 440,000 euros in cash was seized, while in the Netherlands and Belgium 700,000 euros was confiscated. In total, the amount that was confiscated was more than 3.9 million in various currencies.

In Aruba, four homes and four business establishments were searched. Besides the cash, three Rolex watches, three expensive cars, including two of the Mercedes brand, and two motorcycles were confiscated.

In a simultaneous action three homes and business establishments were searched in Roermond, the Netherlands, a home in Lanklaar Stokkem in Belgium and a business establishment in Bree, also in Belgium. Aside from cash, authorities also seized a business administration and two computers in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The three suspects are believed to have been involved in a scheme to launder money of a criminal source. They are thought to have taken, managed, changed and hidden the money. It is suspected that the meat processing plant of the suspect Van R. was used to transport the money from the Netherlands to Aruba.

Van R. will be brought to the Netherlands early next week on the order of the Judge of Instruction where his case will be heard. The other two suspects will remain locked up in Aruba pending the trial.

An investigation started on April 13 on the request of the Aruba Public Prosecutor's Office, the National Public Prosecutor's Office in the Netherlands and the Dutch police. The probe was the result of a parallel investigation in Aruba into money laundering.

Minister shares viewpoint, MPs to get GEBE answers Monday

PHILIPSBURG--Parliament’s plenary session on developments at utilities company GEBE, focusing on the ongoing dispute between the Supervisory Board and Chief Operations Officer (COO) and Managing Director Romelio Maduro about his position at the company, was adjourned to Monday afternoon, after Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Marcel Gumbs gave some perspective on Friday, but needed more documentation to answer questions posed by Members of Parliament (MPs).

The meeting was adjourned after Gumbs, as shareholder representative for the Government-owned company, gave a summarised overview of developments on the current dispute and questions were posed by National Alliance MPs William Marlin, Silveria Jacobs and Christophe Emmanuel.

The minister said GEBE’s Supervisory Board, in a very “loaded” and positive letter, had requested on February 26 that Maduro’s contract be extended by two years and that he also receive a two-month bonus. The shareholder complied, as it relayed in a letter sent March 24.

However, another letter dated May 15 was received from the Supervisory Board, requesting that this decision be withdrawn, citing “gross misconduct in executing his duties as COO.” Gumbs said the shareholder had taken a second decision on May 29, reemphasising that the contract would be extended, but without two months’ bonus.

The extension was deemed necessary because there had been no indication of a replacement or of how the company would be run. The shareholder also had to hear Maduro’s side before opening itself up to serious litigation.

Ensuing correspondence became more argumentative, with the board purportedly claiming that “the first letter was not according to the rules,” and the shareholder was then informed that the Supervisory Board would be starting litigation against Maduro and against the shareholder.

In the meantime, Maduro has been invited to be heard next week Tuesday. Although the shareholder was not involved in an initial court injunction that took place Thursday morning, Supervisory Board Chairman Rene Richardson told Minister Gumbs that the judge also wanted to hear from Government, so representatives were sent to speak in court.

The MPs questioned how things could turn sour within a short time, prompting the Supervisory Board’s change of heart.

They requested documentation to corroborate the statements made and asked whether the Supervisory Board had retracted its glowing statement on Maduro before making it known that his contract would not be renewed; whether the minister had known about alleged financial mismanagement, including unapproved signing of a hefty cheque; which party was responsible for recommending and deciding on management positions; and whether the dispute had anything to do with an unspecified memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Maduro without the Supervisory Board’s approval.

Maduro squared off in the Court of First Instance on Thursday morning in an injunction concerning his suspension. The Judge enquired during the hearing whether the concerned parties would be willing to sit around the table to reach an amiable solution, but this suggestion was cold-shouldered. The Judge will give his decision on the case on July 9.

Other MPs present for the meeting chaired by President of Parliament Dr. Lloyd Richardson were George Pantophlet, Frans Richardson, Sarah Wescot-Williams, Tamara Leonard, Johan Leonard, Cornelius de Weever, Leona Marlin-Romeo, Maurice Lake, Silvio Matser and Franklin Meyers. MP Theo Heyliger gave a notice of absence.

The minister was joined by support staff.

The reconvened plenary session at 2:00pm Monday is also open to the public and will be carried live on St. Maarten Cable TV Channel 120, the audio via Pearl Radio FM 98.1, and via the Internet at

www.pearlfmradio.com and

www.sxmparliament.org .

Comedians arrive, ready to tickle funny bones at LTBB

page4a035Some of the comedians who will be performing in the two LTBB shows at PdP tonight and tomorrow night.

 

PHILIPSBURG--The comedians scheduled to perform in Port St. Maarten’s Laugh Till Belly Burst (LTBB) comedy show have arrived in St. Maarten, and are ready to tickle the funny bones of patrons at the two shows starting tonight with Delcita’s Border Patrol and wrapping up tomorrow night, Saturday, with a line-up of stand-up comedians.  

Both shows will be held at Princess Port de Plaisance and Casino at 8:00pm; doors open at 7:00pm.

Some of the comedians spoke about what patrons can expect at the two shows during a live press conference at PJD2 radio on Thursday. Those present said persons can expect two nights of non-stop, belly-bursting laughter.

Delcita’s (born Andrea Wright) Border Patrol will expose and review the role of church wives. The play will depict how church wives are “sold out to publicity by creating a false image of a healthy marriage.

“Church wives who quote scriptures to defend their activities or lack of in the bedroom. Border Patrol parades some importance of the main chick and side-chick. Many side-chicks are confused and over ambitious and deem themselves to be more important than they really are,” organisers said. Delcita’s last performance in St. Maarten was in January for “Miss Elsayda.”

Saturday night’s stand-up comedy show will feature comedians Marc Trinidad, Trevor Eastmond, Fatman George, Tony Hendriks and BET Comic View sensations Steve Brown and Jay Martin.

Several door prizes will be given away at the shows and a raffle will also be held where part of the proceeds will be donated to the Rambaud St. Loui Fete Association in St. Martin, to assist with the purchase of a wheelchair accessible van.

Patrons who purchase a raffle ticket for US $10 on either night can win a trip for two; weekend stay for two at Holland House Beach Hotel; day pass for two at Sonesta Maho Beach Resort and one of two tablets (compliments of Blue Point).

On Friday night the trip for two will be to St. Kitts, and on Saturday night the trip for two will be to Dominica. Door prizes include tablets and bracelets compliments of Om Jewellers. Princess Port de Plaisance will be giving away $600 to a lucky patron in the Casino after the show.

Tickets for either show costs $30 per night in advance and $40 per night at the door. Tickets are on sale at Van Dorp and Tackling Sol Gas Station. Chippie is offering special ticket packages for the show.

Friday June 26, 2015 St. Maarten Midday Weather Forcast

rb-lDATE ISSUED:  Friday June 26, 2015 @ 12:00 Lst (16:00 UTC)

VALID UNTIL:  Saturday midday (12:00 Lst) June 27, 2015 

 WEATHER:
Today through Saturday midday: Fair to Partly cloudy, hazy and breezy with a local isolated shower possible.


Forecast High:
   30°C / 86°F          Forecast Low:   26°C / 79°F 

Sunrise Tomorrow: 5:39 A.M        Sunset Tonight:  6:51 P.M


 SURFACE WINDS:
Today: East to east southeast with a moderate to fresh breeze of 13 to 21 miles per hour.

Saturday: East to east southeast with a moderate to fresh breeze of 15 to 24 miles per hour, with higher gusts.

SYNOPSIS:
The effects of Saharan dust and the Atlantic high pressure system will continue to restrict precipitation across the local area. However, patches of low level clouds embedded in the trade winds may bring a local isolated shower.

Seas conditions will remain moderate during the next few days. Nevertheless, small craft operators and sea-bathers should exercise caution.

 STATE OF THE SEA: Moderate       WAVES/SWELLS: 5 to 6 feet 

SPECIAL FEATURES: None.

OUTLOOK through Sunday midday: Partly to occasionally cloudy, hazy and breezy with a passing shower.

FORECASTER: Pierre

 The next weather forecast will be issued Today at 18:00 Lst (22:00 UTC).

 For further information visit our website: www.meteosxm.com.

3-DAY FORECAST

 

 DAY

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

WEATHER

Partly cloudy

Occasionally Cloudy / Isolated showers

Partly cloudy

HIGH TEMP

30oC / 86oF

30oC / 86oF

30oC / 86oF

LOW TEMP

26oC / 79oF

24oC / 75oF

26oC / 79oF

SUNRISE

05:39 AM

05:39 AM

05:40 AM

SUNSET

06:51 PM

06:52 PM

06:52 PM

 

Blatter wins fifth FIFA term as challenger concedes

BlatterSepp Blatter

 ZURICH--Sepp Blatter was re-elected president of FIFA for a fifth term on Friday after the only other candidate conceded defeat after a first round of voting in an election overshadowed by allegations of corruption in world soccer.
  Blatter's victory came despite demands that he quit in the face of a major bribery scandal being investigated by U.S., Swiss and other law enforcement agencies that plunged the world soccer body into the worst crisis in its 111-year history.
  Neither Blatter nor Jordanian challenger Prince Ali bin Al Hussein got the necessary two thirds of the vote in the first round, with Blatter on 133 and Prince Ali on 73. Prince Ali later conceded.
  In a victory speech, Blatter declared: "Let's go FIFA, let's go FIFA," to a standing ovation.
  Speaking just before the vote, Blatter, who joined FIFA in 1975, said he felt that he had only been with the organization for a short time and wanted to stay longer. "What is time anyway. I find that the time I have spent at FIFA is very short," he said. "The more one ages the more time flies by quickly. I am with you, and I would like to stay with you," he said to applause.
  Prince Ali, in his pitch for votes, had pledged an open, more democratic FIFA, saying: "We have heard in recent days, voices which described our FIFA as an avaricious body which feeds on the game that the world loves.
  "There are no easy answers. And no blame that can be cast that will wash away the stain that marks us all," he said.
  While Asian, African and Latin American states had been expected to rally around Blatter, Europe, which accounts for all but three of the countries that have ever made it to a World Cup's final match, had been keen for him to step aside.
  On a visit to Berlin, British Prime Minister David Cameron told Blatter to go "the sooner the better". Chancellor Angela Merkel said the dirty side of soccer must be cleaned up.
  U.S. authorities have accused top FIFA figures and sports executives of corruption, while Switzerland is investigating the award of the next World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar.
  The scandal widened on Friday when Britain's Serious Fraud Office said it was examining possible corruption at FIFA.
  A judge in Argentina has ordered the arrest of three businessmen accused of using bribery to obtain soccer media rights, and the Brazilian Senate moved to open a formal inquiry into soccer bribery allegations.
  Marco Polo Del Nero, the president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, dramatically flew back to Brazil from the FIFA Congress shortly before the election. His abrupt departure followed the arrest of nine senior FIFA officials including former Brazilian soccer chief Jose Maria Marin.
  Del Nero told a press conference on Friday he did not plan to resign and "had nothing to do" with corruption.
  FIFA takes in billions of dollars in revenue from television marketing rights and sponsorships, making it one of the wealthiest and most powerful sports bodies in the world. It has been dogged by corruption scandals for decades, mostly investigating itself and avoiding scrutiny by criminal courts.
  Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of meddling in an effort to force Blatter out.
  Qatar on Friday issued a further defense of its bid and said it would carry on with plans to stage the event. The decision to host the world's biggest soccer tournament in a small desert state where daytime summer temperatures rarely fall below 40 degrees Celsius startled many in global sport.
  Many of Blatter's opponents have spoken of steps they can take against him. English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said England could back a
possible boycott of the 2018 World Cup if Blatter stays in office.
  Other European soccer officials have also alluded to the prospect of a boycott, but that is still seen as unlikely given the tournament's importance to the global game.
  Most of the developing world in Africa, Asia and parts of Central America and the Caribbean are happy that FIFA under Blatter has guaranteed them annual grants and bonus payments in World Cup years.



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