Consultant charged Madrid trip to Finance Ministry – Taxand Partners had fallout

POSTED: 10/2/12 2:01 PM

St. Maarten – Peter Muller, a former partner in Taxand Curacao has accused his business partner Judith Brewster of defrauding the company to the tune of 500,000 guilders (almost $280,000). In a position paper that covers the period from April until September of this year, Muller cites numerous incidents. Last year, former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto signed a contract worth $11 million with Taxand to overhaul the country’s tax system. When the government fell in April, his successor Roland Tuitt froze the project.

Just days before the government fell during the infamous calypso-coup in the Festival Village Shigemoto was in Madrid where he attended the annual Taxand conference. Brewster traveled to Madrid as well, where she received an award for landing Taxand the deal with St. Maarten.

On an invoice dated May 9, 2012 from her private company B&B Consultancy, Brewster charged a return ticket for the trip from Curacao via Amsterdam to Madrid to the Ministry of Finance in St. Maarten. A second return ticket from Amsterdam to Madrid is also mentioned on this invoice, probably for a Taxand partner from the Netherlands. The total cost of these tickets was 5,869.08 guilders (close to $3,280).

But there is more to that particular invoice: B&B Consultancy also charged the finance ministry for 92.5 hours of work for the month of April – for a total of 32,375 guilders ($18,086). That is remarkable because on November 23 of last year Shigemoto and Governor Holiday signed a national decree to extend the contract with B&B Consultancy with one year “for obtaining expert support in the field of fiscal issues.” The contract mentions 17,500 guilders per month as the agreed upon fee for this work. In April however, B&B Consultancy changed almost double that amount. In June another invoice followed, this time for 29,124.39 guilders ($16,270). This newspaper obtained copies of both invoices.

Peter Muller is a Curacao-based tax attorney who worked for BDO, before he established Muller & associates in 2001. In 2009 he came into contact with Taxand’s Dutch member firm VMW Taxand. Taxand was established in 2005 by ex-partners of Arthur Andersen, the company that fell from grace due to the Enron-scandal in the United States. In 20910 Muller joined the Taxand network and merged his company with B&B Consultancy into Taxand Curacao.

But the business partners had a falling out that culminated in a split in May of this year. Muller kept the server Taxand Curacao had used, since it was his company that brought it into the partnership.

According to Muller’s position paper, he found on his server data suggesting that Brewster kept invoicing clients through B&B Consultancy, while Taxand was faced with all of the company’s expenses. Taxand leased a part of Muller’s building and ran up rent arrears to the tune of $48,000.

Muller claims in his position paper that his business partner had the company pay for personal expenses like “service upgrades for her Audi 4, and the purchase of a $1,100 pedigree dog.”

Muller took his findings to Taxand’s supervisory board but he did not find any support there, so on June 1 he left Taxand and also terminated the company’s lease in his building. According to Muller’s position paper, Brewster is still Taxand’s managing director.

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Comments (1)

 

  1. Zara Black says:

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. The Brewster sisters(Judith and Ruth) must be very sick to steal monies from the government of St. Maarten and from Peter Muller and think they can get away with it. They should be held accountable for their actions and therefor brought to justice.