Illidge to sit for bribery, loses right to be elected

PHILIPSBURG--Former independent Member of Parliament (MP)Patrick Illidge (49) was sentenced Friday to eighteen months in prison, six of which were suspended, on two years' probation for bribery.
The Judge also revoked Illidge's right to be elected and imposed a ban from holding public office for five years.
During the hearings in this case, which took place February 11-13, the Prosecutor's Office had requested 30 months, 10 of which were to be suspended.
Illidge and Bada Bing brothel owner Jaap van den Heuvel were the main suspects in the so-called Orca investigations. The Court of First Instance found it proven that Illidge had accepted a NAf. 50,000 bribe in exchange for which Illidge was to use his power and influence in favour of the Bada Bing owner and his company Lunteren NV, between March 2011 and October 2012.
For instance, Illidge was to arrange several adapted licences for the nightclub with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which were to include an operational licence to the nightclub and a change in its official registered address from Maho Shopping Centre to Sr. P. Houtman Road in Simpson Bay.
Illidge also was to promote extended opening hours for the establishment and seek the extension of work permits for several female employees.
Illidge was acquitted of possession of an illegal firearm, as the former Minister and State Secretary of the Government of the Netherlands Antilles was entitled to carry a weapon in this capacity. The Court, however, ordered the confiscation of the firearm, as the former MP is no longer authorized to carry a weapon.
The case came to light after a videotape emerged in which Illidge is seen accepting stacks of banknotes from Van den Heuvel as the two are discussing business licences. The images were recorded in Van den Heuvel's office on September 30, 2012. The Daily Herald in St. Maarten and the Telegraaf newspaper in the Netherlands obtained copies of the tape.
Based on the videotape and on statements provided by Illidge, the court found bribery proven. "Jaap has been complaining about the problem. I told him with the intervention of the Minister we will get through. I told him to have confidence; we will get to the bottom of the problem. I let him know that me and the Minister were doing our best to get the problem that he had solved," Illidge told the National Detectives during questioning in January 2014.
"I spoke with Minister of Economic Affairs Romeo Pantophlet twice with me in Neverland. Patrick was also there. Minister Pantophlet then appointed a lady of Economic Affairs to assist me. The Minister also gave me his business card so that I could reach him by phone or via his e-mail," Van den Heuvel told detectives.
Pantophlet, who was Minister of Economic Affairs from May 21, 2012 until June 14, 2013, said Illidge had asked him to look into the reason why Van den Heuvel's requests were not being processed. He told detectives he had spoken with Illidge about Lunteren or Bada Bing "three to four times."
"Patrick Illidge had asked me to look into the reason why the request from Jaap van den Heuvel was not being processed. The request was specifically regarding the changing of the business address and to investigate the operational licence," according to Pantophlet when he was heard as a witness in January 2014.
Illidge also said he could "work" with Director of the Immigration and Naturalisation Service Udo Aron. "It was clear that Jaap had a problem with the girls. Udo is somebody I can discuss the problem with," he had said.
Pleadings filed by Illidge's lawyer Ralph Richardson to have the Prosecutor's case against his client be declared inadmissible were rejected by the Judge, including the statement that Illidge had been the victim of "trial by media."
In this respect the Judge stated there was no evidence that "the media, the Parliament of St. Maarten, the Second Chamber [of the Dutch Parliament, Ed.] or the Dutch Prime Minister had played such an influential role in this case that the right to a fair trial had been breached."
Illidge had claimed he was innocent. The payments concerned repayment of a loan to his long-time friend Van den Heuvel, the former politician maintained.
"I am very disappointed," the former politician said in a brief statement to the media in response to the verdict. He has two weeks' time to file for appeal.
The Daily Herald
In this case Jaap van den Heuvel is represented by attorney Cor Merx of Cor Merx Legal Services and tax lawyer Gert Bergman of BZSE Attorneys at Law l Tax Lawyers Sint Maarten. 
Patrick Illidge is represented by attorney at law Ralph Richardson of Richardson & Nicolaas and tax lawyer Erik Jansen of BZSE Attorneys at Law l Tax Lawyers.
Krijn van der Brug is represented by lawyer Geert Hatzmann of Bermon Law Office.
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