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St. Maarten parlementarian Theo Heyliger's alleged part in Bada Bing scandal/'Illidge-tape' now under investigation

TUESDAY, 12 MARCH 2013

PHILIPSBURG–The alleged involvement of leader of the opposition United People’s (UP) party Theo Heyliger in the ongoing Bada Bing affair is now part of the investigation, Solicitor-General Taco Stein said on Monday.

Stein said authorities had taken note of media reports on Monday that Heyliger had asked Bada Bing manager Jaap van den Heuvel to tape independent Member of Parliament (MP) Patrick Illidge to blackmail the legislator into breaking the current coalition government and help to put Heyliger back in Government.

Heyliger was said to be off-island on Monday and could not be reached for comment. Questions sent via e-mail were not responded to up to press time.

“We read this [Heyliger’s involvement-Ed.] in the paper this morning [Monday-Ed.] and it will be part of the investigation, but I can’t say how it will influence the investigation, but this will be taken into account,” Stein said in a telephone interview. “We are studying that, because it is an awkward or difficult or weird situation. We are not certain if it’s a crime, but we have not decided as yet.”

The Solicitor-General said up to 12:30pm on Monday, when he left the office, Illidge had not shown up at the Prosecutor’s Office. The MP had said if he was not arrested he would visit the Prosecutor’s Office.

However, Stein said that Illidge visiting the office would not be helpful at this stage as authorities were still busy with their investigations. He said many documents had been seized over the weekend and these had to be examined before interviewing began. “There is not much new, but we are studying the documents and working towards situations for interrogations.”

He said some network material related to Illidge had been retrieved from Parliament on Monday.

Asked whether any arrests were expected soon, he said: “These types of investigations are different from a murder – then you have a body and a case and can start arresting –, but now we have documents and we will look at this, then come to a conclusion to determine the amount of guilt. You have to be very careful. You have to be very thorough,” he said.

“We are making progress,” he added.

Media reports on Monday suggested that Heyliger had asked Van den Heuvel to record Illidge in order to blackmail him into breaking the current coalition government. In a letter in Dutch to his attorney Cor Merx dated March 9, Van den Heuvel said Heyliger had been “very mad” when Illidge had left UP and formed a new coalition leaving UP in the opposition benches.

Van den Heuvel said in the letter that Heyliver had spoken to him many times about “correcting this so that he could return to politics.”

“At first he tried to buy out [independent MP Romaine-Ed.] Laville for the amount of US $135,000, according to me. When this failed he wanted to ask me a favour. He asked about the story that I had paid Patrick for a permit and I told him that was not true, but that I had borrowed money from Patrick in 2011 and that Patrick often came by to collect his portion of this money.”

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