MP Patrick Illidge a free man againPOSTED: 01/31/14 1:21 AM
St. Maarten – Independent parliamentarian Patrick Illidge, a suspect in the orca-investigation, was released from custody yesterday. In a brief press statement, the prosecutor’s office stated that it had decided not to ask for Illidge’s pre-trial detention. “Of course this decision does not mean that he is no longer a suspect. He remains a suspect and the investigation will continue,” the release stated, using only the initials of the parliamentarian.
Illidge has been behind bars for ten days. Together with Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel he is a suspect in the Orca-investigation. When Illidge was taken into custody, the prosecutor’s office cited membership of a criminal organization and money laundering as the charges against him.
Illidge left the courthouse yesterday afternoon clearly relieved, as he waved to photographers with a big smile on his face.
The Orca-investigation started after a video surfaced showing how Van den Heuvel pays a large amount of cash – probably $15,000 – to Illidge. Both men have maintained that this is a loan-payment. Van den Heuvel told this newspaper last year that he made the video at the request of UP-leader Theo Heyliger. The purpose was to embarrass Illidge so that he would cause the fall of the government.