At the request of Italian authorities: Search at Corallo’s house and the Atlantis CasinoPOSTED: 11/30/14 11:37 PM
St. Maarten – Detectives of the RST conducted searches yesterday at the house of Francesco Corallo in Cupecoy and at Atlantis Casino, the prosecutor’s office stated in a brief press release. At the casino’s address, several companies are established of the 54-year old Corallo and of his chief financial officer, 48-year old Rudolf Baetsen. The raids took place under the supervision of the judge of instruction and at the request of the anti-mafia district directorate of the Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office in the context of an investigation by the Guardia di Finanza in Rome.
The press release states that the prosecutor’s office in St. Maarten cannot provide any information about the content and the background of the investigation.
It is however public knowledge that Corallo reported voluntarily to the Italian authorities in August of last year. At the time, Corallo’s attorney said that his client went to answer questions from the Milanese prosecutor Pellicano about his alleged involvement in wrongdoings brought against him in the Banco Popolare di Milano investigation. The Italian authorities placed Corallo under house arrest on August 4, 2013; three months later, on October 14, the house arrest was lifted.
The accusations against Corallo date back to May 2012 when easy loans provided by the Banco Popolare di Milano (BPM) at the time when Massimo Ponzellini was its chairman attracted the attention of prosecutors. Corallo’s company B Plus Giocolegale obtained a €105 million ($142 million) loan from BPM, but Corallo has always maintained that there is nothing fishy about the contract and that the loan is in good standing.
In June 2012, the Italian tax police issued an arrest warrant for Corallo and in August he was placed as a wanted fugitive on the Interpol website. Corallo said in an interview with the British gaming industry magazine G3 in September 2012 that the allegations brought against him in Italy are inspired by competitors in the Italian gaming market who are after B Plus’ lucrative licenses for video lottery terminals. The company has since been put up for sale.
After his name appeared on the Interpol wanted list, Corallo went underground for a while. The Antilliaans Dagblad reported once that he went in hiding in the Dominican Republic, but there have also been reports that he stayed on the island of Anagada in the British Virgin Islands.