Illidge and Van den Heuvel facing bribery charges

PHILIPSBURG--The long-awaited court case in the so-called "Orca" investigations against independent Member of Parliament Patrick Illidge and Bada Bing nightclub owner Jaap van den Heuvel started Wednesday with a so-called pro-forma hearing.
Due to the absence of Van den Heuvel's attorney, Cor Merx, and Illidge's lawyer, Ralph Richardson, as well as the suspects themselves, for personal reasons, only the charges were read out Wednesday morning. It is not yet known when the actual court case will take place, but probably not before the end of October, it was stated.
Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp announced that Illidge will be charged with accepting bribes from Van den Heuvel for the total amount of US $150,000, between October 2010 and September 2012.
In exchange for the money, Illidge was to use his power and influence to favour the Lunteren N.V./Bada Bing owner in ensuring the Ministry of Economic Affairs would grant adapted permits to the adult entertainment centre and seek 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 Bada Bing and seek the extension of work permits for several female employees. According to the Prosecutor's Office, these are all violations of Article 379 of the Penal Code.
Illidge was also charged with possession of an illegal firearm; a 9 millimetre Ruger.
The indictment against Van den Heuvel consists of eight charges, including the alleged bribery of MP Illidge.
The Bada Bing owner was also charged with money laundering to the amount of NAf, 1,767,031, and of membership in a criminal organisation. Together with others, among who were also Illidge, Van den Heuvel would have been involved in various criminal activities, among which were forgery, money laundering, bribery, tax evasion, trafficking of women and the employment of women without a work permit, the Prosecutor said.
The Prosecutor's Office also charged Van den Heuvel with forgery of a commercial lease agreement.
Lunteren N.V. was separately indicted. This company was also charged with money laundering, trafficking of women, tax evasion and violation of the ordinance on the employment of foreign labourers.
Van den Heuvel is at the centre of the Bada Bing corruption case, which surrounds a videotape of Illidge apparently accepting banknotes from Van den Heuvel while the two discuss business permits. Illidge had said it concerned repayment of a loan.
Both Illidge and Van den Heuvel had said subsequently that United People's (UP) party leader Theo Heyliger had asked the strip club owner to make the video to blackmail Illidge into returning to the UP, which was in opposition at the time of the tape's release, to get that party back in government.
A number of persons were questioned as part of the investigations, including Illidge, Van den Heuvel, former Justice Minister Roland Duncan, Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND) head Udo Aron, Minister of Economic Affairs Romeo Pantophlet, Duncan's former driver, Marina Serrant, Heyliger and other persons.
Van den Heuvel spent 18 days in pre-trial detention in September 2013. He currently resides in the Netherlands. Illidge was arrested in January and spent 10 days behind bars.
(The Daily Herald)

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