Conflict over text message-based lottery – Curacao’s PM Asjes lies, law office claims

POSTED: 08/12/13 12:15 PM

St. Maarten / Curacao – The law office of Sulvaran & Peterson in Curacao has accused Prime Minister Ivar Asjes of lying. Asjes maintains that Robbie’s Lottery offers the possibility to buy tickets for participation in the Wega di Number Kòrsou by sending and receiving text messages via telecom provider UTS.  Asjes wants to shut down the sms2win operation because he considers it illegal.

“His accusations at the address of Robbie dos Santos are flagrant lies that could possibly be meant to disguise the criminal acts the media are currently attributing to him,” the law office stated.

Asjes has ordered Robbie’s Lottery to stop offering lottery-games via text messaging per November 1. According to the Prime Minister this is illegal, the company does not have the required permits, and it does not pay turnover tax, while minors are also able to buy the lottery tickets. Dos Santos’ attorneys make mincemeat of these arguments.

In a written statement Sulvaran&Peterson declare that they have asked Asjes, in his function of minister of general affairs, which facts and circumstances have made him think “that Stephanie Jansen, who is currently doing business in Curacao under the name Robbie’s Lottery, or even her father, Robbie dos Santos, would offer the possibility to buy tickets for the Wega di Number Kòrsou by sending and receiving text messages though telecom provider UTS.

According to the law office, Asjes has not reacted yet to this request. The attorneys accuse the prime minister of hunting Dos Santos down and that he is “on a personal mission to defame a specific entrepreneur who apparently has turned away from him politically.”

According to the law office’s statement, Dos Santos is no longer involved in lottery-activities in Curacao since 2012. He denies that he broke local laws. “It is Smartplay NV, established in St. Maarten based on St. Maartens legislation and that acts in the economy under the name Robbie’s that offers over there the possibility to buy tickets for Wega di Number Kòrsou by sending a text message through a telecommunication company.”

Smartplay is offering the text message service, the law office points out in its statement, via Radcomm Corporation, a limited liability company that is also established in St. Maarten. Radcomm is the company that holds the telecommunication concession UTS uses for its operations in St. Maarten.

Dos Santos furthermore denies that his company is the only one that offers text message-based lotteries. Kennedy Neman offers the same services for Digicel and the current Minister of Economic Affairs, Stanley Palm also offered participation in the Wega di Number Kòrsou via text messaging. Dos Santos dismisses the argument that minors are also able to buy tickets. “Everyone who wants to cash in on a winning ticket has to provide identification and we never pay out to minors,” he said.

The Antilliaans Dagblad reported yesterday that Economic Affairs Minister Stanley Palm claims the intellectual ownership of the text messaging-based lottery system. “I registered the idea of a text messaging based lottery in 2004 at the Bureau for Intellectual Property in Curacao,” Palm said. In 2005 he brought the first of these lotteries on the market.

“I was the first one. I had an exclusive contract with UTS and I worked with the lottery permit-holders Scorpion Lottery, Robbie’s Lottery and Joe Black.”

In 2007 UTS terminated the contract and went into business with Robbie’s Lottery. Palm says he decided not to put up a fight against the two companies. “I did not want to start a case against those big guys.”

But Palm hinted that he still may change his mind. “How can UTS go into business with Robbie’s Lottery when it is my idea that has been registered? They did not ask me anything.”

The newspaper also refers to the statement from Sulvaran & Peterson, especially to the part where attorney Chester Peterson makes bold statements about the assassination of Helmin Wiels. “It cannot be excluded that the late Helmin Wiels at the time was smeared by Asjes and his cronies. And that they have incited the late Wiels against Robbie dos Santos – while they reportedly knew already about the plans to assassinate Wiels – so that after the murder the minister of general affairs could sponge on the unfounded accusations of the in the meantime the late Wiels against Robbie dos Santos.”

Asjes told the Antilliaans Dagblad that he had no plans to react to Peterson’s statement. “I will not go on with reacting. I have important work to do for the benefit of the people of Curacao.”


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