Former prime minister of Curacao Gerrit Schotte (R) with Cicely van der Dijs
WILLEMSTAD, Curacao -- The former prime minister of Curacao, Gerrit Schotte, remained in custody following his arrest last week on suspicion of forgery and money laundering. However, Cicely van der Dijs, his domestic partner, was released last Thursday, but is still a suspect, according to an announcement by the public prosecutor (OM) on Friday.
Schotte (39) and Van der Dijs (36) were arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of forgery and money laundering. At the request of the prosecution, searches were carried out in Italy. Furthermore, several witnesses were interviewed in Italy, St Maarten and Curacao.
Schotte was also questioned by the investigation team last Friday, the OM reported. The former prime minister continued to be held in custody but a magistrate will decide on Monday whether he should remain in custody or be released pending court proceedings.
The searches in Italy and the interviews in St Maarten appear to relate to previously reported questionable transactions by Italian businessman Francesco Corallo related to Schotte. Corallo owns a casino chain in St Maarten and was mentioned earlier in the media as a financier of Schotte’s political campaign. Corallo has denied this emphatically, saying that he only does business with the van der Dijs family.
“My transactions come from a legal company. I pay the van der Dijs family for services and products. I have never financed Schotte’s political campaigns, but if I did, I don’t see anything wrong with that,” Corallo stated in a recent interview with a local morning newspaper.
Schotte was prime minister between 2010 and 2012. In that capacity, he wanted to give Corallo a diplomatic position in Curacao, but it never materialised.
Republished with permission of the Curacao Chronicle