Schotte denies he knew about Wiels-killing

POSTED: 07/24/13 1:01 PM

schotte and wiels

Gerrit Schotte (l) and Helmin Wiels celebrate the outcome of last year’s elections. Photo ANP / Michael Kooren

WILLEMSTAD – MFK-leader Gerrit Schotte denies that he had prior knowledge about plans to assassinate his political adversary Helmin Wiels. “There are just rumors,” the former Prime Minister of Curacao told the Telegraaf yesterday. The prosecutor’s office in Willemstad has started an investigation into leaks to the media, after revelations about the investigation in NRC Handelsblad.

NRC Handelsblad reported on Monday that the investigation into the killing had yielded “strong indications” that several Curacaolenean politicians and their environment were aware of the plans to kill Wiels. Sources close to the investigation confirmed the story, though they declined to name the politicians and emphasized that prior knowledge does not mean that these politicians commissioned the murder.

Wiels was the leader of Curacao’s largest political party, the leftwing-populist Pueblo Soberano (Sovereign People). He was liquidated at the beach of Marie Pompoen on May 5.

The investigation into the killing focuses in particular on the rift between Wiels and Schotte. Until last year’s elections, Schotte was prime minister in a coalition with Wiels, but he is now the leader of the opposition. “Schotte was discredited through relations with a member of an infamous Italian mafia family and a gambling king in Sint Maarten who is suspected of money laundering,” NRC Handelsblad repeated yesterday. The remark refers to Atlantis-owner Francesco Corallo and Robbie’s Lottery owner Robbie dos Santos.

In the Telegraaf, Schotte contradicted the suggestion that he knew about the plan to assassinate Wiels or that he had anything to do with it. “Wiels was a colleague. A member of parliament. Officially we hear nothing from the prosecutor’s office about the progress of the investigation, while this must be solved as soon as possible.”

Schotte told the newspaper that Wiels’ drive for complete independence from the Netherlands is the motive behind the murder. “My party MFK also supports that goal. This means that I also could have been a victim.”

The prosecutor’s office and the police in Curacao are investigating the leaking of information about the investigation to the media, after NRC Handelsblad published on Monday its story that links politicians to the case.

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