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Controversy heats up over Curacao's alleged mafia links
Published on October 12, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- A member of parliament in the Netherlands, Ronald van Raak, has continued to demand answers from the Minister of Kingdom Relations, Liesbeth Spies on why her predecessor, Piet Hein Donner, did nothing with information that the former prime minister of Curacao was linked to the Sicilian mafia. The MP wants clarification of the situation.

ronald_van_raak3.jpg
Ronald van Raak
During a parliamentary meeting where issues in the Netherlands were discussed, van Raak said that he had received different documents in the mail from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which describe the relation between former Curacao Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte and the Sicilian mafia. Van Raak reportedly had the documents with him during the meeting.

According to van Raak, from these documents one can conclude that Donner knew about the relation between Schotte and the alleged head of the Sicilian mafia, Francesco Corallo as long ago as May 2011. Van Raak called for an answer before noon (Dutch time) on Thursday. The MP wants to know why Donner did nothing with this information.

Furthermore, van Raak indicated that Corallo was one of the major financers of Schotte’s campaign. That is the reason why he wanted to appoint the Italian to such a high position at the Central Bank.

“I want to know if the minister is in agreement with me that, on the basis of this material, the tax information, Schotte could never have become minister”, van Raak said.

One of van Raak’s colleagues requested the documents in his possession and that they be distributed to the rest of the MPs. Van Raak responded that it is his intention to share these documents with the rest of parliament, but that the president of Parliament did not want them. Even the Dutch prime minister refused to take these documents, he claimed.

The president of Parliament indicated that after the meeting she will take a look at the documents and take note of them and see if they need to be distributed.

Meanwhile, Schotte, the leader of the Movementu Futuro Kòrsou party and the first prime minister of Curacao after the territory became a country, said in a statement he has taken note of a recent series of articles, mainly in Dutch media, and statements made by van Raak about a letter Schotte, as prime minister of Curacao, sent last year to the Italian minister of the interior.

Schotte said he deeply regrets that there are all kinds of rumours and accusations surrounding this letter and therefore attaches importance to setting things straight so as to put an end to what he described as a smear campaign in the Netherlands and by some media in Curacao against him.

According to Schotte, he requested credentials for Corallo and the Italian Ministry of Interior responded on August 3, 2011, that “Corallo has a blank file at the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

“From this correspondence it is clear that there was nothing illegal,” Schotte said.

In a separate statement, Corallo described the controversy as “chicken chatter”.

“It does not do justice to the many excellent diplomats in our country when a representative of the diplomatic corps issues reports to Kingdom governments that are based on chicken chatter or talk from imaginary employees of the Italian government,” he said.

Corallo, describing himself as a Dutch citizen, reiterated that he has a clean record with both Italian ministries.

“And even if one can understand this story in the context of a heated political climate, it is however utmost surprising that media houses report such blatantly false information... I reserve the right to sue the authors of these publications according to the law,” he said.

Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle
 
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