St. Maarten police conduct raids in bribery probe
Authorities pursuing an investigation into possible bribery have seized documents, computers, telephones and other items at several locations, including the home of a St. Maarten legislator who appears to accept money from a strip club manager in a video recently made public.
Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos said Saturday that searches were conducted at the home of legislator Patrick Illidge as well as the Bada Bing strip club and the Immigration and Naturalization Service agency.
Mos said a 29-year-old man found at Illidge's home was arrested on charges of illegal weapon possession.
He said authorities were analyzing the seized items as well as the video, which is dated Sept. 30, 2012, and was recently dropped off anonymously in mailbox of a newspaper, The Daily Herald.
The video shows Illidge putting stacks of money into his pockets that club manager Jaap van den Heuvel had just taken from a safe inside his club in Simpson Bay.
Van den Heuvel is heard saying in Dutch: "At this moment I only have 15. We're almost there, it's almost arranged, only 30 left. You know what it is, we just had a very (expletive) quiet month. I can't take too much out. If I take too much out, then it will be obvious. Understand what I mean?"
The men are heard talking about documents needed to secure a club permit as well as extension of employment permits for the dancers. The manager also requested that his business be allowed to remain open until 5 a.m.
Calls to Van den Heuvel's cellphone have gone unanswered. But he has told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that it was "incredible story," and suggested the tape shows him giving only fake money that the strip club uses as promotion.
Illidge is out of the country and has been unreachable for comment.
St. Maarten is a Caribbean country that is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands