Judith Brewster took money from TC-account – Court appoints manager at former Taxand Curacao

POSTED: 06/17/13 11:38 AM

St. Maarten /  By Hilbert Haar – The Common Court of Justice has appointed HBN Law attorney Chris de Bres as external manager of TC, a company formerly known as Taxand Curacao. De Bres is charged with investigating mismanagement by Judith Brewster, Roelof Vos and Manuel Candal Iglesias. The appointment is a result of a lawsuit filed by Peter Muller, a former partner in Taxand Curacao, the company that was at one time involved with the restructuring of St. Maarten’s fiscal system.

Muller, director of the tax consultancy bureau M&A in Curacao, filed the lawsuit against Judith Brewster’s Company B&B consultancy, De Nieuwe Wereld Private Foundation (Taxand Venezuela), Van Mens and Wisselink NV (VMW – Taxand Nederland), against Judith Brewster in person, Roelof Vos, Manuel Candal Iglesias and Franklin Bakhuis. All these parties played one way or another a role in the rise and fall of Taxand Curacao.

On December 27, 2010, Muller’s company M&A and Brewster’s B&B Consultancy signed a shareholders’ agreement that merged the activities of the two companies in Taxand Curacao.

The new company was a joint venture of these two companies with VMW and Taxand Venezuela. M&A and B&B were each entitled to 30 percent of the profits, VMW and Taxand Venezuela each to 20 percent.

Muller and Brewster became the directors of Taxand Curacao. Brewster managed its finances from January 1, 2011 until April 16, 2012, when Muller took over. He resigned six week later, on June 1, 2012. Brewster stepped down on August 14. Bakhuis was appointed as the new director, but he left his post two months later on October 17. Since then, no new directors have been appointed.

But Taxand Curacao was troubled from the get go. As a member of the Global Taxand organization, established in faraway Luxemburg, Muller and Brewster’s joint venture had to meet certain expectations. And when this did not happen, the global board of Taxand forbade them to use the name Taxand any longer. On August 24, 2012, Taxand Curacao disappeared to return as TC BV.

The ruling of the Common Court of Justice establishes that Taxand Curacao was servicing the clients of its two components: M&A and B&B. Webster’s B&B had a service-contract with country St. Maarten that was executed in 2011 and partly in 2012. For four hours a day, based on a day-tariff of 1,400 guilders its value was 17,500 guilders ($9,800) per month for 50 hours of work – $196 per hour. The contract between B&B and the government was signed by former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto. While the accountability ordinance clearly states that contracts above 50,000 guilders have to be put on public tender, this was not done for the contract with B&B. Brewster’s sister Ruth works at the finance department in St. Maarten, hardly a coincidence.

Starting in December 2011, Taxand Curacao took part in the Tax Reform Project St. Maarten. Currently TC BV has no business activities anymore. On June 1 of last year Muller took M&A out of the joint venture, while Judith Brewster dumped B&B consultancy and started a company called Dutch Caribbean Tax Services, with herself as the only director.

In August of last year, the Court in First Instance sentenced Taxand Curacao to pay M&A close to 35,000 guilders for the rent of Muller’s office, management fees and other charges. The Common Court notes in its ruling that Taxand Curacao has not complied with the court ruling, so Muller is still waiting for his money.

M&A asked the court to appoint an external manager, claiming that Brewster on several occasions took money from TC and that it fears she will continue with her malversation.

The court established that Brewster expended TC’s credit facility at the Girobank with 75,000 guilders while she was no longer a director of the company and that she has benefited from the better part of this money. Brewster has confessed to the court that she used the money to pay personnel at her Dutch Caribbean Tax Services company. Brewster also acknowledged that she took money out of the TC-bank account.

Brewster did have an explanation for her actions, but the court did not buy them. Brewster claimed that DCTS absorbed the debt of TC that followed for the expansion of its credit facility and that the money she took from the TC-account concerns money clients of hers mistakenly transferred to the TC-account.

“Brewster did not substantiate her position at all,” the court ruled. “It can be established that Brewster used the TC-bank accounts for her personal purposes. The court considers M&A’s fear that this will happen again in the future not unjustified.”

The court furthermore established that Brewster did not transfer to Taxand Curacao “substantial amounts of money she received from the service-agreement with St. Maarten.”

The annual account of Taxand Curacao over 2011 shows a debt from Brewster’s company B&B to Taxand of close to 300,000 guilders. Peter Muller claims that Brewster also withheld revenue from Taxand in 2012 to the tune of 700,000 guilders.

Muller also claims payment for work he did on the Tax reform Project for St. Maarten. according to his company M&A this was a contract worth $11 million in the first year. “This is supported by an email from the former Minister of finance of St. Maarten, Hiro Shigemoto, in which he writes that the government has spent more than 4 million guilders on the project,” the court notes in its ruling.

The court ruled that it has doubts about the management at TC. “The reasons M&A has put forth for its request to appoint a temporary manager at TC, gives sufficient serious reasons to set up a temporary provision. In the interest of TH and minority shareholder M&A the court considers the appointment of a temporary manager necessary.”

The court notes that the temporary manager’s predominant task is to take decisions and takes measures focused on the interest of TC and the company associated with it and that he is entitled to a broad margin of judgment. Mr. De Bres is entitled to arrange the financial settlement between M&A and B&B and to act as TC’s liquidator.

The court ruling was published on Friday on rechtspraak.nl.


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