Code Name “Emerald”

December 7, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Ricardo Swire

The Kingdom of the Netherlands’ Caribbean “Emerald” investigation began in April 2016 as an offensive against international fraud, money laundering and venality.

The special Anti-Corruption Taskforce or “TBO” is comprised of a Kingdom Detectives Cooperation Team or “RST”, National Detective Agency of Curacao and St Maarten officers, supported by the Dutch Prosecutor’s Office. TBO officers have orders to recover crime proceeds supported by a new policy.

The TBO’s first major probe occurred on August 10th 2016. RST officers raided Curacao and St Maarten Central Bank president’s properties, after finding evidence of shady private finances. A US$3 million loan was awarded to his girlfriend, without the required “Know Your Customer” inquiries. Some of the cash found its way to the Central Bank president’s personal pension fund. Allegations abounded that he also channeled money to other private pension funds.

Emerald was the TBO’s second investigation, instigated by questions from Dutch Parliamentarians. Queries about a signed contract between Port Authority of St Maarten and a suspicious security company. On November 29th 2016 the thirty-five year old male Checkmate Security Services owner was arrested and charged, after TBO officers searched his residence and business. The detainee’s offenses registered as tax fraud, forgery, illegal firearms possession and money laundering.

Checkmate Security Services personnel manage St Maarten’s Pointe Blanche Prison. Therefore the security company owner is detained for safe keeping at SDDK Prison on neighboring Curacao. TBO officers also rummaged the St. Maarten Port Authority office. Following close collaboration with French counterparts a yacht, five cars and several bank accounts were confiscated. The Dutch Kingdom’s Threat Monitor Organized Crime (NDB) unit produces a quadrennial report that pinpoints the nature and hazard of organized crime within the Netherlands.

On November 8th 2016 Dutch police arrested a forty-four year-old man after a routine traffic stop. The universally wanted money launderer was transporting £107,000 cash, along the A16 near Zevenbergschen Hoek in North Brabant, the Netherlands. In a similar 2011 occurrence French National Police officers found €500,000 currency in the suspect’s car without explanation. The forty-four year old money launderer awaits extradition from the Netherlands to France.

The Dutch NDB has an integrated framework that additionally monitors organized crime in the Caribbean. St Maarten’s money laundering criminal exploits occur via business investments, real estate purchases and global tax shelters. Next door Curacao’s offshore financial sector caters to trust service companies. Financial and administrative amenities are offered to international clientele. Products include offshore enterprises, mutual or investment funds, and international finance companies.

In 2015 the Monterrey Group, a Dutch corporation with an outlet at Columbusstraat 19 Ab Willemstad Curacao, was accused of laundering €150 million via the Dutch Caribbean Island. The business retails lingerie brands such as Spanx and Hanky Panky. Two Swatch stores are among fourteen locations in Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao or ABC islands as well as St Maarten. Its CEO functions from a virtual office at Cruquiskasde in Amsterdam. Monterrey Group’s core business also functions a Chamber Of Commerce registered store at Hitchin, north of London.

Curacao’s store augments as a legitimate Western Union. Domestic governance prohibits sale of American dollars to Venezuelan nationals. Yet Monterrey Group affiliates facilitated Venezuelans who traveled to Curacao purchased US currency and returned to Caracas. A practice demonstrated by the thirty-one year old Venezuelan front man, of a Caribbean telecommunications company, arrested for involvement with Monterrey Group’s unorthodox business practice. Laundered cash flowed through the Netherlands, Germany and Venezuela.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

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