By Caribbean News Now contributor
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao – On Monday morning, authorities in Curacao raided the residence of the island’s former prime minister, Gerrit Schotte. The raid was one of six that took place under the supervision of an investigative magistrate and in the presence of the Public Prosecutor.
According to an official statement, these raids were in the context of a criminal investigation and were carried out by the country’s Investigation Team, supported by members of the Criminal Investigation Team (RST).
In addition to Schotte’s house, the raids took place at a political party building, a second house, an office building, a commercial building and an office in the Curacao Parliament building.
The reason given for these raids is a criminal investigation into suspected money laundering, in combination with related offence(s) of forgery under the Criminal Code.
This investigation was initiated at the request of the attorney general in connection with two complaints filed in late 2012 at the office of the Public Prosecutor in Curacao and where Schotte had allegedly perpetrated the offences in question. Information related to so-called unusual financial transactions (MOT) was provided.
After these complaints were assessed by the attorney general, the national investigation team in Curacao was ordered in February 2013 to investigate the facts. The Public Prosecution Service and the National Investigation Team requested additional support from the RST. The results of the detailed investigation of the facts were presented to the attorney-general, which led to the ongoing investigation.
The raids that took place on Monday morning were part of this investigation.
During the searches, documents and other data sources were seized that may be useful for further investigation. No arrests were made. The investigation team will continue with its investigation using the seized documents, following which it will draw up a report. At this time, it is not known how long the investigation will continue.
The raid at the office in the Parliament building was carried out after consultation with the chairman and in the presence of the registrar.