PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance held preliminary hearings in the cases of businessman and former Member of Parliament (MP) Silvio Matser and three other suspects on Monday morning.
During this hearing, the prosecutor announced via teleconferencing from Curaçao that the former MP is accused of having committed tax fraud in collaboration with three companies. Their cases will be heard by a judge January 11-12, 2021.
The owner of company Island Wide is also suspect in this case. L.J.J. is suspected of having provided Matser with fake invoices and is also charged with laundering money, cars and real estate. Other companies allegedly involved in the scheme are Safe Millennium and Versatile Consulting and Management BV.
Matser and his now defunct company Energizer NV were irrevocably convicted of tax evasion by the High Court of the Netherlands on January 7, 2020.
The High Court rejected all of Matser’s objections against the Appeals Court judgment, which had found him guilty of tax evasion in having filed incorrect tax-return forms for the payment of wage taxes, and failure to pay turnover tax.
Matser and his company received reduction on their sentences for undue delay in the handling of their cassation cases, which is in contravention of the European Human Rights Treaty.
Considering this, the High Court sentenced Matser to a prison sentence of 21 months and two weeks, 18 of which were suspended, on three years’ probation. The fine for Energizer was lowered to NAf. 3,490,300.
As part of the new criminal proceedings against Matser, the Prosecutor’s Office has filed a request with the court for the execution of the prison sentence.
Matser and co-suspect J. were not present at Monday’s preliminary hearing. Romanian national G.F. also did not show up due to an illness. F., who is charged with money laundering, had petitioned the court for the return of several goods and properties, among which were watches, jewellery, handbags, two cars, two dwellings, one of which a cottage, and two plots of land.
The prosecutor said the woman is a suspect in a money-laundering investigation and had not given a plausible explanation about these properties. The judge stated he will decide on this matter within three weeks.
Suspect D.N.L. was the only defendant present in the courtroom on Monday, represented by attorneys Safira Ibrahim and Peggy Ann Brandon.
L., who is the director of Versatile, is under the suspicion of having committed tax fraud in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The defence submitted requests for the hearing of a number of witnesses. Among them were tax department officials, an accountant, a developer and three subcontractors. The lawyers also wanted the chief executive officer of a local car dealership questioned about the purchase of vehicles.
The prosecutor said in response to these requests that he understood that the defence will be contesting the so-called “disadvantage calculation” (“nadeelberekening”), which consists of the estimated amount the tax authorities have lost due to alleged fraudulent activities.
According to the defence, these calculations were based on “several invoices” that were found during the investigation. “You cannot assume a turnover of [NAf. – Ed.] one million,” Brandon said.
The prosecutor stated that L. had remained silent during the investigation and had not given any explanation about how payments were made and in which way monies were deposited in her bank accounts.
Attorney Brandon countered that every suspect has the right of silence and should not be punished for acting on that right. “The truth is paramount, and the investigation must be complete,” she stated emphatically in underlining the importance of the “tax aspects” of this case.
The judge only granted the hearing of Versatile’s accountant and the subcontractors. They will be questioned by an investigating judge.
Bron: Daily Herald