|Schotte exceeded his authority with direct request to Italy|
|Thursday, 11 October 2012 15:16|
WILLEMSTAD — Former premier Gerrit Schotte (MFK) should not have approached the Italian Minister of the Interior for a certificate of good character of Francesco Corallo. Minister Spies wrote this today in a letter to the Lower Chamber following oral questions from Chamber member Ronald van Raak (SP).
Spies: “Schotte made this request without involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Schotte-government was subsequently informed at high official level that he shouldn’t have acted on his own authority.”
In his reply the Minister of the Interior of Italy, Roberto Maroni, already reprimanded Schotte: “In this connection I inform you that the head of the Cabinet of my Ministry will personally contact the diplomatic mission that maintains contact with your relations in Italy in order to give you all required data.”
A certificate of good character wasn’t issued, Spies wrote, “Mr. Schotte supposedly intended to give Mr. Corallo an important post.” In response to the request the Italian Ministry of the Interior informed the embassy in Rome that ‘although there are no criminal convictions known of Mr. Corallo there are still reasons not to issue the requested certificate’, according to Spies.
On August 3rd 2011 Italian authorities informed the embassy in Rome by fax that the Italian Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs ‘hadn’t found any mention of aforementioned Mr. Corallo in documents from both the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’, said Spies, who concluded that ‘the fax therefore had a different tenor than the previous letter’. The embassy had passed this fax on to the Directorate of Foreign Relations on Curaçao.
The tenor was different because Stoelinga wrote that although there are no criminal convictions known of Mr. Corallo ‘police investigation during the years 1995-1997 regarding Francesco Corallo revealed that this person was involved with international drug trade and that Francesco Corallo is an important person in the Sicilian mafia. After his father was arrested, Francesco Corallo started a tourist center on St. Maarten, which was used for money laundering. Both the Italian police and the Italian Intelligence Service confirmed this information’.
Press report on Corallo
In a press report Schotte argued that the fax of August 3rd 2011 is ‘proof’ that ‘nothing had been done illegally (his own words) and in a press report Francesco Corallo, who is wanted for organized crime/cross border crime and fraud, disposes of the damning letter from the Dutch embassy with information from the Italian Ministry of the Interior as ‘chicken chatter’ or babble from ‘imaginary employees of the Italian government’. For that matter, Schotte has a slightly different translation of the fax. Instead of ‘nothing is mentioned about aforementioned Mr. Corallo’, Schotte wrote Corallo ‘has a blank dossier’.
Both the Dutch outgoing minister Liesbeth Spies (Kingdom Relations, CDA) and former premier Gerrit Schotte himself therefore confirm that as minister-president last year he requested references on Francesco Corallo, who is currently on the wanted list of Interpol.
Spies draws the conclusion that Schotte wanted Corallo to qualify for a post and that ‘it appears Mr. Schotte hadn’t recommended Mr. Corallo for a specific official or administrative position’. “If the information available at that time had given cause for this it would have been the competent criminal authorities of Curaçao primarily to take further action”, said the minister. Spies didn’t elaborate on Van Raak’s question as to which position Corallo was promised or if it regarded a post with the Central Bank.
Financing of campaign
When asked if Corallo was still involved with the financing of the campaign, Spies referred to her answers on questions from Chamber member Martijn van Dam (PvdA) on Tuesday. “How the financing of political parties is regulated on Curaçao is the responsibility of the country Curaçao”, said Spies.
There will be no debate on this matter in the Lower Chamber. Although Van Raak had hinted at this earlier, he changed his mind after his questions were answered.