Dunes Casino registered under offshore company

POSTED: 04/23/13 11:51 AM

St. Maarten – When the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the first results earlier this months of its massive probe into the world of offshore money, little St. Maarten was obviously not their prime target. Fifteen months of digging into millions of records by dozens of journalists in forty different countries brought to light who is hiding what and where.

The project revealed that government officials and the super rich of this earth use offshore constructions to hide their wealth and to evade taxes.

In St. Maarten at least one company has come to light (not through the project, but through sources who made documents available to this newspaper) that is using an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands: the Dunes Casino in Maho.

The Dunes Casino is part of the Atlantis World Group that also operates the Atlantis Casino in Cupecoy, the Beach Plaza Casino in Philipsburg and the Paradise Plaza Casino in Simpson Bay.

Almost two years ago, on July 13, 2011, notary Francis Edgar Gijsbertha registered a deed at 2.24 p.m. at the Cadastre. According to the deed, Gijsbertha is “formerly a civil law notary in Sint Maarten” and at present (at the moment he registered the deed) “a substitute civil law notary.”

Five days before Gijsbertha went to the Cadastre, on July 8, two people appeared before him at his office. The first one was Emelda Jocelyne Riley, at that time a 62-year-old office manager. She acted as the proxy for Kildare Properties Limited, a limited liability company established in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. To make it more interesting, this BVI-company has its registered office at Chartwell Managers Limited at the address Cosely Drive in The Valley on Anguilla.

The second person to appear before the substitute civil law notary was Rudolf Theodoor Anna Baetsen, who came first to the public eye when former Prime Minister Gerrit Schotte made him his candidate for a high position at the Central Bank in 2011. Because Baetsen is the Chief Financial Officer of the casino-company Atlantis World Group of Francesco Corallo, a controversy erupted over this nomination and in the end Baetsen withdrew the candidacy.

But on that day in July 2011, Baetsen appeared as “a businessman” and “attorney in fact” of International Financing Planning Services Limited – in short, IFPS.

Like Kildare, this company is also a limited liability company established in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Kildare sold on that day the right of long lease until August 10, 2030 on a parcel of land of 1,738 square meters in Simpson Bay – the location of the Dunes Casino for $3.3 million.

The lease fee on the property – divided into three parcels – is utterly modest. One parcel costs just 1 Antillean guilder center per square meter; for the second parcel the government has charged for the past four decades (since July 1,1970( 7.55 Antillean guilders. Parcel 3 is a different story: in 1964 it went for 1,378 Antillean guilders per year for a period of ten years. For the next twenty years (until 1995) the canon went up to 2,067 guilders and for the balance of the leasehold the price went to 2,756 guilders per year, not even $130 per month.

The property is mortgaged for a principal sum of $2,145,000 and an interest amount of $1,072,500, suggesting that IFPS made an $82,500 cash down payment to complete the $3,3 million purchase price.


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