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|Orco Bank: Not involved with transactions|
|Wednesday, 3 April 2013 11:20|
WILLEMSTAD — In a press report, the board of directors of the Orco Bank wrote that the bank was not involved with a transaction between SNS Property Finance and the Guis family, shareholder of the Orco Bank.With this, the board consisting of Kenneth Canword, Milouzka Sprock and Margaret Boskaljon-Römer, responds to previous reports in the media on the fraud investigation into SNS Property Finance, the real estate branch of SNS Reall, and describes the link between main suspect Buck Groenhof and the Orco Bank. Groenhof supposedly performed other suspicious transactions via ‘the Antillean banking’. However, the Orco Bank states ‘it is not informed of such transactions via Orco Bank’. Apparently Groenhof was recruited as advisor at the Orco Bank for years. The bank confirmed this but stated to have ‘discontinued’ his services since February. SNS Reaal was nationalized on February 1st after the mounting losses at the real estate branch.
Within the framework of this case a search of the Orco Bank premises was conducted yesterday at the request of the Netherlands Public Prosecutor’s Office for which a legal assistance request was submitted. A local examining judge, a local registrar and an officer of Justice conducted the search. The bank gave full cooperation, according to the board of directors. Searches were also conducted at other companies and institutions on Curaçao, for example the Chamber of Commerce. The Public Prosecutor’s Office in the Netherlands and Norman Serphos from the Public Prosecutor’s Office Curaçao reported that documents were confiscated and several witnesses were heard but nobody was arrested.
Groenhof had supposedly transferred half of a shopping center in Spain financed by SNS to the Guis family three years ago. Certain sources mention an amount of one euro. The Orco Bank states: “We noticed that the media referred to a transaction between SNS Property Finance and the Guis family, which involved purchasing 48 percent of the shares in a holding company that owns the huge shopping mall Plaza Imperial in Zaragoza, Spain. The Guis family confirmed the transaction had indeed taken place at the explicit request of SNS Property Finance and that the transaction was approved by the organs of SNS Property Finance responsible for the necessary approvals. The case is that the Guis family already had a banking relation with the SNS Group for financing within Europe before Mr. Groenhof was recruited at SNS Property Finance. We repeat once again that the Orco Bank wasn’t involved with this transaction or informed of its details, with the exception of aforementioned confirmation from the Guis family”, the board of directors stated. Groenhof, who was placed in custody on February 12th, was released last Friday in anticipation of his trial. According to the Orco Bank, he advised on a certain bank concept for seven years. “In the last two years, when Mr. Groenhof was on the island, he visited the Orco Bank to discuss new developments or the follow-up of the ‘preferred banking’ concept implemented.”
According to several media, a search was also conducted at bank and trust company United Trust yesterday. Director Gregory Elias was not available for comment today.