Larimar case closed, Heyliger to serve five years in prison

Larimar case closed, Heyliger  to serve five years in prison

PHILIPSBURG--The Prosecutor's Office OM has reached a settlement with Theo Heyliger in the Larimar dispossession case. Heyliger agreed to pay US $5 million to the public prosecutor and waive rights and rental income of various immovable properties.

With this, Heyliger renounces assets obtained by him unlawfully, the Prosecutor’s Office said.

The Larimar investigation started on 2 March 2017 and was conducted by the Recherche Samenwerkingsteam (RST) under the responsibility of the Central Team of the Attorney General's Office of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba.

On 15 May 2020, Heyliger was sentenced by the Court of First Instance (CFI) in the Larimar criminal case to five years' imprisonment for accepting bribes and money laundering. The accused enriched himself for years as a politician at the expense of the citizens of St Maarten.

The convicted Heyliger and the prosecution had appealed the verdict.

At the same time as the criminal case, a criminal financial investigation was launched by the RST to determine whether the Larimar defendants had gained any illegally obtained benefit. This investigation revealed that Heyliger had indeed enriched himself by committing the offences for which he was convicted. Therefore, the public prosecutor started a deprivation case against Heyliger.

The US $ 5 million Heyliger agreed to pay will go towards the Crime Prevention Fund, which is managed by Minister of justice Anna Richardson.

Opting for a settlement agreement avoids lengthy court proceedings for both parties, the prosecutor stated. “The dispossession case is closed with the reaching of this settlement and the parties will request the Court of First Instance to declare the case closed on November 1.”

On Wednesday morning, the prosecution and the defense informed the Court that they no longer have an interest in continuing the appeal hearing of the Larimar and Catfish criminal cases. The Court subsequently declared the public prosecutor inadmissible. The criminal cases against Heyliger are now closed and irrevocable. Heyliger will receive a summons to serve his prison sentence.

Ensuring the integrity of the country and the application of law are important to the fabric of the community, the Prosecutor stated. “This case showed how unlawful actions by a single official, to whom the care and development of the country has been entrusted, can slow down progress and cause sometimes irreparable damage to the present and future. The prosecution sees the conclusion of this case as a joint step towards a better future for the country.”

The Daily Herald

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