PHILIPSBURG–Former president of the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten Emsley Tromp has been acquitted of intentional misregistration of income-tax returns between March 28, 2007, and March 23, 2015, the Court of Appeals in Willemstad announced Thursday.
The Appellate Court is of the opinion that it has not been established beyond reasonable doubt that income-tax returns from 2006 to 2014 were incorrectly filed, as the Prosecution Service has charged. For this reason, Tromp should be acquitted, the Joint Court stated.
The Prosecutor’s Office had demanded Tromp’s conviction and had called for a punishment of 240 hours of community service and a NAf. 10 million fine, or one year imprisonment in case of non-compliance.
Tromp’s legal defence team, consisting of attorneys-at-law Mirto Murray and Niels van der Laan, had pleaded with the Court to declare the Prosecutor’s Office case against Tromp inadmissible, or to acquit their client of all charges.
The Court of First Instance in November 2017 fully acquitted Tromp of intentionally filing income tax returns incorrectly. The judge determined at the time that since the introduction of statutory provisions for pension arrangements in 2001, it is in principle no longer allowed to personally manage pension funds. The implementation of the pension entitlements must then take place via an insurer established in one of the islands of the former Netherlands Antilles unless the Finance Minister has arranged otherwise.
Tromp’s pension funds are managed by his foundation. The latter initially left the execution of the pension entitlements first to insurance company Fatum in Curaçao, then to Nationale Nederlanden in the Netherlands, but apparently took a different course at the beginning of 2006. From early that year, the funds were directly transferred to the foundation and in November 2007 the pension was bought from the insurance company and the money was to be invested with Bank of America.
The foundation and Bank of America cannot be regarded as insurers, while the US bank is not located in one of the countries that previously formed the Netherlands Antilles. The consequence of this is that the reversal rule – a tax rule which means that claims on a pension arrangement do not form part of the wage – no longer applied and that therefore no tax was paid on the pension premiums.
In its ruling, the Court of Appeals stated that even if it were assumed that Tromp’s tax declarations had been made incorrectly, it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that it was due to Tromp’s intentions that these declarations had been made incorrectly.
The reason for this is, in short, that these declarations in which the reversal regulation was applied were based on declarations provided by a tax expert and adviser on whom Tromp rightfully relied because it concerned an “extremely complex” tax regulation, the Appeals Court stated.
Therefore, the Court arrived at the conclusion that the evidence was inadequate to establish that the defendant was guilty as charged.
Bron: Daily Herald