St. Maarten detains lawmaker in corruption probe

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) - A lawmaker in St. Maarten was arrested Monday in a public corruption investigation in the tiny Dutch Caribbean country.

Independent lawmaker Patrick Illidge was being questioned on allegations of bribery and money laundering, according to prosecutors. He came in voluntarily and was being held in pre-trial detention.

"He will now be interrogated until we run out of questions," Solicitor General Taco Stein said.

Last year, a publicized video showed Illidge seeming to accept stacks of money from the owner of the Bada Bing strip club in Simpson Bay. The video was sent anonymously to two newspapers.

Authorities later announced they were probing allegations that a former opposition leader asked strip club owner Jaap van den Heuvel to make the tape so he could blackmail Illidge to join his political faction and break the ruling coalition. Van den Heuvel was arrested last year.

Illidge's lawyer could not be reached for comment.

In St. Maarten's legal system, prosecutors don't file charges before a case is taken to court. Authorities wouldn't reveal specifics about their case against Illidge but said they have an order from the high court to prosecute.

"Unless we find that there is no evidence or a perfectly normal explanation, there will be prosecution," Stein said.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Who Pays?
    Maybe for the first time ever, Dori Monson proposes a tax

  • Hiring a Felon
    Who was going to house and hire Renata Abramson, a felon looking for a second chance?
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.