Casino-boss demands retraction of mafia-link allegations: Corallo takes Dutch ministries to court

POSTED: 01/14/13 12:50 PM

St. Maarten – Atlantis World Group owner Francesco Corallo is taking the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations to court. In summary proceedings Corallo demands that the Netherlands distances itself from allegations that he has links with the Sicilian mafia.
The hearing will take place on Wednesday at the court in The Hague. Corallo wants the state to publish a rectification in the Telegraaf in which it distances itself from the mafia-claims.

Corallo’s Atlantis World Group owns the Paradise Plaza Casino in Curacao and the Atlantis Casino and several other casinos in St. Maarten.
The ousted prime minister of Curacao, Gerrit Schotte, wanted to give Corallo a never specified important function last year. To facilitate this appointment he asked Italian authorities for a proof of good behavior. The Italian authorities reported to the Dutch embassy in Rome that there are no criminal convictions of Corallo on record, but that there were still reasons not to issue the proof of good behavior Schotte had asked for. The Italian authorities referred to links between Corallo and the Sicilian mafia.

Schotte dropped the idea to appoint Corallo, after earlier attempts to appoint the Atlantis World group Chief Financial Officer Rudolf Baetsen to the board of the Central Bank had already failed. When his nomination triggered controversy, Baetsen withdrew his candidacy.
Correspondence with the Italian government and payments from Corallo-companies to Schotte ended up in the media. These documents, the Antilliaans Dagblad reports, “were seen as the ultimate proof that Schotte has ties with dubious businessmen like Corallo.”
Soon afterwards news broke that Corallo was wanted by the Italian authorities as a suspect in a large-scale corruption investigation at the Banco Popolare di Milano. Prosecutors alleged that the bank gave dubious loans to gambling companies like Corallo’s B Plus Giocolegale in exchange for kickbacks. Corallo has always denied these allegations and also said that the contested loan is in good standing. He said that the accusations at his address in Italy stem from competitors in the gaming industry who want to sideline him.
In spite of this, Italian prosecutors placed Corallo in June of last year on Interpol’s wanted-list for “organized crime, transnational crime and fraud.”
When this news broke, Corallo vanished from St. Maarten and went in hiding – reportedly on the island of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands. In November, the Italian authorities dropped the charges against Corallo and sometime later, Interpol removed the wanted-posting from its website.

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