Bada Bing suspects inform Court about their circumstances after Irma

PHILIPSBURG--Before rendering the verdicts on the appeals in the Bada Bing case, the Court of Appeals on Wednesday gave the four suspects the opportunity to update the Court on their personal circumstances after Hurricane Irma struck St. Maarten on September 6.
 
The appeal case was handled by the Court on August 10 and 11, with the date for ruling initially set for September 12.
Main suspect in this case, Bada Bing’s proprietor and Director of its holding company Lunteren N.V. Jaap van den Heuvel (52), has maintained throughout the legal proceedings that he had done nothing wrong and denied the allegations of bribery of former independent Member of Parliament (MP) Patrick Illidge, and of forgery, trafficking of women, tax evasion and money laundering.
 
On March 6, 2015, the owner of the adult entertainment centre in Simpson Bay was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to 42 months, 12 of which were suspended, with two years’ probation.
 
Lunteren N.V. was ordered to pay NAf. 1.5 million in fines for tax evasion, money laundering and trafficking of women.
On Wednesday, Van den Heuvel painted a gloomy picture of his business and his personal financial circumstances. He informed the Appellate Court that his company was “completely destroyed” during the hurricane and cannot be rebuilt. The landlord, however, is still demanding rent.
 
Van den Heuvel said that same as his employees he is currently also without an income. “I am done with the company and will be closing the doors for good. This is one big disaster,” he told the Court via a video-connection with Curaçao.
 
Bada Bing Manager Krijn van den Brug, who was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to nine months suspended, on two years’ probation and 240 hours of community service for involvement in the trafficking of women, also said the company he had been working for was “practically gone,” and is “one big mess.” All women who had been working at the club have left the island.
 
Van den Brug said it would be difficult for him to find another job as the criminal case against him made him persona non-grata “everywhere.”
 
Former MP Illidge voiced similar concerns. He said that looking for a job in St. Maarten or abroad is difficult for him, as “it is all about integrity.”
 
He said his house in Pointe Blanche sustained considerable damage, which is not fully covered by insurance. His two tenants left their apartments after they had lost their jobs in the hospitality industry. “This leaves me without an income,” Illidge said, adding that his wife just started to work in providing an income for their family.
 
The Court of First Instance sentenced Illidge for bribery to 18 months, six of which were suspended, with two years’ probation. The Court also revoked his right to be elected and banned him from holding public office for five years.
 
The Prosecutor’s Office saw no reason in the defendants’ personal circumstances to deviate from his demand to fully uphold the verdicts as meted out by the Court of First Instance.
 
Whereas Van den Heuvel claimed he was penniless and cannot pay workers’ salaries, his attorney Cor Merx called upon the Court to lift a lien put on Lunteren’s bank accounts by the Prosecutor’s Office to the tune of US $280,000. The Joint Court will give its decisions in this case December 13.
 
The Dialy Herald

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