“Dos Santos wants to settle for $10 million”

POSTED: 07/26/13 11:45 AM

CuracaoWILLEMSTAD – Robbie’s Lottery owner Robbie dos Santos wants to settle with the Public Prosecutor’s Office before the Bientu-case goes to court towards the end of August, the Antilliaans Dagblad reported yesterday. Sources close to the investigation told the newspaper that Dos Santos wants to get out of his legal trouble with a payment of $10 million.

The newspaper did not manage to obtain a confirmation from Dos Santos’ attorneys Eldon Sulvaran and Wouter Tielkemeijer. “It remains unclear why dos Santos would want to settle the case,” the AD wrote.

NRC Handelsblad reported already last Saturday that sources had indicated Dos Santos wants a settlement. The Public Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on the story. It is therefore unclear whether the prosecutor’s office will honor the request or that it has already dismissed it.

The Bientu (Wind)-investigation started five years ago in 2008. Dos Santos is suspected of money laundering, forgery and tax fraud.

The detective collaboration team RST completed its investigation already in August of last year, but afterwards there were several requests for additional information. Last month the prosecutor’s office announced that the case would go to court towards the end of August.

According to the Antilliaans Dagblad, it is unlikely that the prosecutor’s office will accept a proposal to settle if it has enough evidence against the lottery-boss. Settling the tax fraud remains a possibility.

“There are different kinds of settlements. In a fiscal settlement, a suspect pays the tax arrears plus a fine. Then the charge of fiscal fraud goes away,” Jan Reijntjes, a professor in criminal law, told the newspaper. Reijntjes regularly teaches at the University of the Netherlands Antilles in Curacao.

It does not happen often that the prosecutor’s office agrees to a settlement, Reijntjes added, especially if a defendant is looking at jail time. “For crimes that carry 6 years of imprisonment or more, the prosecutor’s office is not even authorized to settle.”

Asking for a settlement does not equal a confession, Reijntjes furthermore pointed out. “In the Netherlands a case against a well-known attorney was also settled. He was suspected of accepting cash payments. He maintained his innocence but said that a public trial would damage his reputation.”

Defendants could also balk at the idea of lengthy criminal procedures and use that as a reason to ask for a settlement. It is however up to the prosecutor’s office to decide about such a request. A positive decision could include the demand for a confession.

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