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CC | Opinion: First Lady

HomeAuteursOpiniesCC | Opinion: First Lady
Sub-license holder PinnacleSports is allowed to participate in discussions on new gambling legislation, even though the company offers illegal gambling and does not pay any profit taxes | Photo Ministry of Finance.

Let’s talk about sex. The fact that the government literally shares a bed with the gambling mafia is old news. Dossier Koninkijksrelaties and Amigoe have already written about it. However, although the recently divorced Prime Minister Gilmar ‘Pik’ Pisas (MFK) is now supposedly filthy rich and head over heels in love, both the Prime Minister and his future First Lady have yet to make an appearance at official parties. Who is Pinnaclesports CEO Jessica Davis (aka Paris Smith), why did Pisas receive a $2.5 million villa, and how closely is politics in Curaçao connected to international organized crime on the island? A profile. 

 

Jessica Davis’ notorious career Jessica Pauline Davis-Dyett (52) began her gambling career at the age of 25 with WorldWide Telesports in Antigua in 1995. In 1998, Davis, a granddaughter of a former governor of North Dakota, and her partner William Scott were already suspected by the FBI of internet fraud, and in 2005 they were also accused of illegally enticing gamblers to send money from the United States to the Caribbean island of Antigua for bets, totaling approximately $2.5 billion over an eight-year period, and hiding that money in offshore companies. 

 

Around 2006, Davis moved to Curaçao to continue her career in the online gaming world on the island that had already gained a reputation for its favorable investment and regulatory climate without judicial interference. Despite her criminal conviction in the USA, Davis has climbed the ranks within Pinnacle over the past 17 years and is now the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pinnacle. Initially, due to suspicions, Davis adopted the alias Paris Smith, but because her conviction became known quickly, she later stopped denying the use of the alias. 

Holiday Beach Hotel Veneto casino en Pinnaclesports.com
Holiday Beach Hotel Veneto casino en Pinnaclesports.com

 

PinnacleSports, also known as “Pinny,” is a Curaçao-based online gambling company that has been operating since 1996 from the Holiday Beach Hotel & Casino, offering sports betting worldwide from the Netherlands Antilles. The founders and shareholders were Las Vegas bookie Stanley Tomchin and the flamboyant Californian oddsmaker George Molsbarger, later followed by a third owner named Brandt England. 

In 1999, Pinny claimed to be the owner of the license of Cyberluck N.V. However, according to unsigned information, Pin operated using illegal sublicenses controlled by trustees. Pinnacle has deep roots in Curaçao society. It operates under a web of legal entities with exotic names such as Skalden Management N.V., King’s Cross N.V., Cehuva N.V., Zarb Corporation N.V., and Ragnarok Corporation N.V., managed by various trust offices including, among others, a trust desk of Rabobank (Decro Trust), trust company Trustmoore, and trust administrator Cornelis Teunis Fieret, a former financial controller from the Meespierson Fortis Intertrust lineage, the founder of the worldwide illegal gambling network based on an illegal master license and sublicense system. 

In 2005, just before Davis joined Pinnacle, the multinational based in Otrobanda reported an annual revenue of 12 billion dollars (NAf 21,600,000,000) according to the financial figures provided by her in Alderney. However, in 2008, due to the US gambling ban, the revenue had more than halved to 5.7 billion dollars (NAf 10,000,000,000) based on her figures. As Pinnacle couldn’t benefit from a 2% profit tax E-zone status, Curacao’s treasury should have been generously filled thanks to Pinnacle. However, the annual financial statements of Curacao since 2010 (available online at the General Audit Chamber) prove that Pinnacle pays little to no (significant) profit tax to the treasury. Curacao was already the world capital of online gambling and a meeting point for the ruthless underworld and an unscrupulous upper world where billions are laundered, although this was still unknown to many. 

In 2006, despite her criminal record, Davis used her gambling expertise at Pinnacle. Anyone who has ever visited the brightly colored but somewhat outdated and shabby hotel with Veneto casino in Otrobanda probably remembers those modern large digital TV screens displaying live sports betting and horse racing in the land-based casino with the Full Fledge Sportsbook, where visitors could deposit their (black) money at the bar, place bets on physical slots or Pinnacle horse racing, and later walk out with a cashier’s check to the bank. Few would suspect that a real billion-dollar company, run by criminals, was housed here for a long time. 

 

Fake licenses 

Because a Curaçao sublicence is effectively a fake permit, falsely presenting itself as a legal licence regulated by the government (“Established in 1998, Pinnacle Sports is fully licensed by the Government of the Netherlands Antilles on the island of Curaçao, who are also the regulating body (Department of Justice) for the gaming industry.”), but the company is virtually unsellable due to the lack of a legal license, Pinnacle attempted several times from 2006 to obtain a backup licence in various other “flexible” jurisdictions such as Alderney, Malta, and the Philippines. In practice, Pinnacle continued to operate based on a fake Curaçao sublicence. 

In 2012, the New York prosecutor’s office arrested and prosecuted 3 owners and 22 American Pinnacle “agents” on American territory on 225 charges of illegal gambling, money laundering, corruption, and ties to the Italian mafia.

Pinnacle owners George Molsbarger, Stanley Tomchin, and Brandt England were handcuffed, along with Kelly Rae Barsel, Jerry Martin Branca, Michael ‘Mike’ Colbert, Steven Santo Diano, Brandt Alan England, Joseph David Paulk, Paul Sexton from Las Vegas, and New Yorkers Steven Diano, Jerald Branca, Kelly Barsel, Joseph Paulk, Brandt England, Andrew Belardino, Michael Duong, Gadoon Kyrollos, Vincent Basciano, Edward Cappucci, Edward Iazzetti, and John Tognino. According to the US prosecutor’s office, the Pinnacle owners and agents had made at least $50,000,000 in profit from illegal gambling on American soil in just six months since 2011. Most Pinnacle suspects made a deal or were convicted, only a few were acquitted. 

However, on the Curaçao side, it remained silent. Both in the media, in politics, in the licensing authority of Justice, in the regulator of UTS’s telecommunications infrastructure, in the regulator Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten on trust service providers, and in the investigation by the Curaçao prosecutor’s office. 

Although law enforcement agencies in the Kingdom of the Netherlands have not observed cross-border criminality related to online gambling and money laundering in the past 30 years, specifically concerning the offering of illegal gambling and money laundering within the trust sector, the US authorities, on the other hand, have identified numerous ongoing criminal activities under the leadership of Davis. 

The Americans describe it as audacious (“significant exercise of brazenness”). 

Criminal enterprise, illegal gambling, money laundering, corruption, conspiracy, circumvention of US legislation, “National Gambling Ring with Suspected Mob Ties,” “A complicated scheme of bounced transactions between computer servers in Costa Rica and Panama,” “those who participate in these criminal enterprises often use threats, intimidation, and even physical force to collect debts and oftentimes charge usurious interest rates on outstanding debts” – the US law enforcement authorities do not mince words when it comes to the criminal activities within PinnacleSports on American soil. Imagine being the CEO in that situation. 

However, the Americans had not yet discovered that the activities on US soil lacked a legal basis under Curaçao law – Pinnacle was operating through an illegal sublicence. On the other hand, Pinnacle was well aware of its vulnerability. After a short-lived failed venture in China, Swedish former football star and owner of Touchbet Ltd, Bengt Magnus Petter Hedman, acquired the heavily damaged Pinnacle with the embattled CEO at the helm. He managed to secure a Maltese license, ensuring that Pinnacle was no longer solely reliant on a precarious Curaçao sublicence. However, the basis for obtaining the Maltese license was built on the dubious claim that Pinnacle had possessed a legitimate Curaçao license throughout its 15-year existence. Thus, Pinnacle became a multinational corporation with billions in revenue while, in reality, the company was worth nothing. 

In mid-2015, American journalists from the New York Times visited the island because Pinnacle and Davis were once again operating on US soil. Faced with a surprise visit on the second floor of the Holiday Beach hotel regarding new covert activities in the American market, Davis relocated the entire operation overnight to the address of the Ministry of Economic Affairs at Pletterijweg 43. To their astonishment, the then Minister of Economic Affairs, Eugene Rhuggenaath (PAR), brazenly disregarded the American authorities when confronted by the New York Times journalists, who sought to inquire about ongoing illegal sports betting activities from Pater Eeuwesweg 31 on American territory. 

CEO Jessica Davis moved the Pinnacle operation overnight from Pater Eeuwesweg 31 to Pletterijweg 43, the address of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the former headquarters of the Curacao International Financial Organisation (CIFA) of which she is a member, in response to inquiries from New York Times journalists in mid-2015. 

 

After significant pressure from the Dutch Parliament since 2015, Pinnacle switched from a sublicence issued by Cyberluck to a sublicence issued by Antillephone but remained silent. 

In 2019, the same Rhuggenaath, now Prime Minister, personally misled the Dutch Parliament, in response to persistent questions, regarding the legal basis of sublicenses under which Pinnacle Sports, among others, operates. Therefore, it is not due to her romantic relationship with the current Curaçao Prime Minister, Gilmar Pisas, that Pinnacle and Davis feel protected. 

Culture of impunity

On January 23, 2023, several online gambling licenses and renewals of The Elite Turf Club N.V., Curacao Interactive Licensing N.V., Antillephone N.V., Cyberluck (Curacao Egaming) N.V., and Gaming Services Provider N.V. were disclosed through a LOB (Letter of Obligation) request. In the opinion of your Kingdom’s interest blogger, none of the “master licenses” have been legally valid and continuous since 2007/2008, which would mean that Pinnacle has been operating illegally up to this day. 

Whether it is an invalid or illegal sublicence, in both cases, Davis and Pinnacle, in the opinion of your Kingdom’s interest blogger, have been guilty not only of illegal gambling and money laundering in the American market but should have also faced trial in Curaçao for the following crimes on Curaçao territory years ago: 

  • Article 146 of the Criminal Code (criminal organization)
  • Article 266 of the Criminal Code (illegal gambling)
  • Article 339 of the Criminal Code (fraud)
  • Article 435a of the Criminal Code (money laundering)
  • Article 435b of the Criminal Code (habitual money laundering)
  • Article 435c of the Criminal Code (culpable money laundering)
  • Articles 2(2) in conjunction with 10 of the National Ordinance on Identification in
  • Financial Services Articles 2(1) in conjunction with 35(1)(a) of the National Ordinance on
  • Telecommunications Facilities Articles 2 in conjunction with 31(1) of the National
  • Ordinance on Electronic Agreements Articles 1(2) in conjunction with 12 of the National
  • Ordinance on Economic Zones 2000
  • Articles 11 in conjunction with 23 of the National Ordinance on Reporting Unusual Transactions (until 2019)
  • Various provisions of tax criminal law (multiple) 

Although the culture of impunity within the Dutch Kingdom regarding trust offices that offer illegal online gambling based on sublicenses has been a reality without any supervision or enforcement for 30 years, it is likely that the global anti-money laundering watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), will put an end to this in 2024 by blacklisting Curaçao alongside Sudan and Russia. However, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance seem relatively unconcerned for now: Silvania invited the delinquent individual on March 28, 2023, to provide input on the new online gambling legislation and flaunted her presence by photographing her during the meeting at the Ministry of Finance. 

Villa at Coral Estate  

Nevertheless, it wasn’t until May 2023 that rumors began to intensify. Although it had been known for a year that the Prime Minister shares a bed with Davis and that she shared juicy details about their sex life, he now mainly resides in one of her two villas in Zuurzak and Coral Estate, happily driving around in her Range Rover. What was new? Pisas allegedly secured an online gambling license for Pinnacle in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during his recent visit to Dubai. Furthermore, according to persistent rumors, Davis is said to be building a new villa at Coral Estate for her presidential lover. Finally, it is said that the road to Coral Estate will be repaved at the taxpayer’s expense, courtesy of Charles Cooper (MFK). The value of the land with the villa under construction is $2,500,000 USD, excluding the cost of repaving, which is also borne by the taxpayer. 

Prime Minister Gilmar ‘Pik’ Pisas and Finance Minister Javier Silvania are fond of Jessica Davis, also known as Paris Smith.
Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas visited Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan in the United Arab Emirates last week.

If it is true that Pinnacle or Jessica Davis has indeed gifted the Prime Minister a multi-million dollar villa, it is highly likely that this investment has a criminal origin. 

Regardless, due to his openly intimate ties with the gambling mafia, Pisas raises suspicion of providing assistance to Pinnacle, Davis, and the gambling industry, thus revealing the close connections between international organized crime and politics to the whole world. 

On May 5, 2023, several American regulators urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat illegal offshore gambling in the USA. Aka: offshore casinos operating from Curaçao, a wholesaler of offshore casinos. 

Ten days later, the future First Lady suddenly announced her resignation after 17 years of faithful service. In her press release, the new First Lady stated that she and Magnus Hedman would determine the future strategy of Pinnacle, with Davis acting as an advisor. Local newspapers and social media speculated: “Perhaps her intense friendship with a prominent politician in Curaçao became too much for her.” And: “It seems that her past is catching up with her and that’s why she was forced to resign as CEO of Pinnacle.” 

Your Kingdom’s Interests blogger believes that the truth is simple: Pinnacle and its shareholders will not fear any criminal actions as long as Davis remains within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. However, Hedman and Davis will likely want to submit an application for an official Curaçao gambling license, considering the newly drafted Online Gambling Ordinance (LOK) tailored for the trust sector and gambling industry. A convicted gambling operator with ties to organized crime, involved in money laundering and illegal gambling, and possibly having bribed a Prime Minister, is likely to obstruct such an application. The stakes are high because the value and legitimacy of this criminal multinational rests on obtaining that license, and it is presumed that substantial outstanding taxes will need to be settled prior to its issuance. It is unknown if Davis herself is a shareholder in Pinnacle and will cash in on the awarding of the Curaçao license. 

Anyway, Pisas and his ministers seemingly pay little heed to the international reputation of Curaçao and the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Despite their public statements, their actions (or lack thereof) regarding the gambling industry indicate that they are unconcerned about the upcoming CFATF evaluation. Actions speak louder than words. And Davis? She lives in her own bubble and is primarily proud of her criminal career, Pinnacle, and her unique political influence. 

The heart of your Kingdom’s Interests blogger goes out to the fact that the internationally organized crime on Curaçao is being made stronger and richer every year by ruthless trust operators who promote the concealment of identities of (criminal) ultimate beneficiaries, the origin of unregulated money flows, and the culture of impunity within trust offices and shell companies of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. And not least, the unpaid Pinnacle taxes contributing to an empty treasury. Pillow talks between an audacious First Lady and a blindly infatuated Curaçao Prime Minister, along with criminals influencing online gambling legislation, in my opinion, bode ill for the island. 

Nardy Cramm is the editor-in-chief of Knipselkrant Curacao, as well as a blogger and author of blog series ‘KKC blog | Power Struggle in Curaçao Ignites’ and ‘VDC blog | The Fortunes of the Curaçao Security Service (VDC)’. The Kingdom’s Interests blogs are her latest series. Tips and information are handled discreetly, and comments are appreciated. You can find more about the author here. 

Bron: Curacao Chronicle

KKC naschrift

The original version can be found here

7 reacties

  1. Het is tijd om een ​​einde te maken aan deze zwendelvergunning en hun casino’s. rechters zouden sneller moeten beslissen. Dit zijn geen zaken die hun normale gang moeten gaan. Deze oplichters presenteren schaamteloos allerlei leugens om de rechtbank te bezetten en tijd te winnen. rechters rechters laat u niet door hen misleiden.

  2. Je kan 2 kanten op;
    De claims en verdenkingen zijn niet volledig bewijsbaar en dus onjuist.
    Of;
    OM en staten zijn in deze mede deler in de winsten van deze constructies en gaan dus geen onderzoek instellen.
    Hoe dan ook ze zijn beschermd door autonomie.
    Het is het electoraat dat er een einde aan kan maken maar die zijn overtuigd geraakt dat de huidige politici niet, “slechter” zijn als andere en onze zelfbeschikking verdedigen.
    Bovendien geven ze af en toe nog kadootjes weg.

  3. @Loes: dus Nardy Cram is voor haar plezier ondergedoken?! de nederlandse versie van het artikel heeft genoeg links naar onderliggende documenten zodat de claims in dit artikel niet uit de lucht gegrepen zijn. In ieder geval zorgelijk genoeg voor OM en andere instanties om hier eindelijk eens werk van te maken

  4. Kram heeft ook geen verstand van Gambling en Kraamt ook maar wat uit.
    Is een keer slachtoffer geweest zeker van iets wat haar niet uitbetaald werd.
    Op Cur vinden geen geld transacties plaats. Anders dan de lingerie zaak die debit cards collecte in Punda.
    Dat was geld. Dat was cash flow.
    Die licenties die zijn leuk voor de politiek als steekpenningen maar de bevolking heeft daar niks aan.
    Economische hebben we er ook niks aan.
    Maar een free zone die we zogenaamd promoten die kan geen internet krijgen sneller dan 20 / 10 idioten.
    Doe daar eens wat mee. Nee w kunnen het iet eens blussen als het 5 keer in de fik gaat.
    Als kramm wat wil uit kramen moet ze actie ondernemen tegen de “Legale” Casino.s en loterijen die de lokale bevolking beroven.
    Maar he daar geen word over.
    Veel schuim en weinig Chocola.
    Sukkel.

  5. Very worrying development that both the current and past Curaçao president is mentioned here. I had higher expectations of Eugènie rhuggenaath and am disappointed to read about his role in this affair

  6. Ik heb geen verstand van gambling en dat soort zaken, maar het verhaal leest wel lekker spannend. Een goede filmregisseur zou er zo een spannende film van kunnen brouwen.

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