WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- The release of former prime minister of Curacao, Gerrit Schotte, on Tuesday by a magistrate, following his arrest one week earlier on suspicion of money laundering and forgery, has apparently led to some misunderstanding in the community and/or speculation, prompting the Public Prosecution to give a further explanation of the matter.
Schotte, together with his domestic partner and co-defendant Cicely van der Dijs, was arrested and detained as part of an ongoing criminal investigation on forgery and money laundering. In the context of this investigation, house searches were previously conducted in Curacao and abroad. The investigation also took into account that, during the search of Schotte’s house, mobile phone jammers and a diplomatic passport that he had previously claimed was lost were found.
After Schotte’s arrest, he was confronted with the findings of the criminal investigation and was given the opportunity to give his own statements concerning this.
To prevent the suspect from making agreements with or potentially influencing third parties about his statements -- the so-called collusion danger -- an initial detention of up to ten days was sought. In addition, certain restrictions were imposed, such as a prohibition on contacting others.
On Tuesday night, a magistrate ruled that it was no longer necessary to keep the defendant in custody in the interest of the investigation. He based his decision on the fact that there were already a number of investigation activities that had been carried out and also the extensiveness of the already existing police report. If the suspect does not cooperate with further investigation, the Prosecution could request his detention again.
The Public Prosecution said it is aware of the importance of bringing the investigation before the court as soon as possible. Once the investigation is completed, both suspects will be summoned to appear before the court.
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle