Preliminary hearing Octopus scheduled for September 21, 2016

Sint Maarten Courthouse

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The preliminary hearing (“regiezitting”) in the Octopus investigation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 21, 2016, from 9:00am till 12:00pm.

“Octopus” is the codename for the investigation into vote buying fraud during the 2014 parliamentary elections. A preliminary hearing means no criminal proceedings on the contents of the case will take place.

The judge will take inventory of additional requests concerning the investigation and will take a decision on these requests. The judge will also take a decision on a date for the trial.

For now five suspects have been summoned to stand trial in the Court of First Instance of St. Maarten. They are: S.J.M. (49), W.F.B. (30), E.E.L.F. (35), R.G.K. (48) and F.L.A. (46). They are suspected of participating in a criminal organization and vote buying. The Prosecutor has not yet made a decision on the prosecution of other suspects in the Octopus investigation.

In the investigation, led by the Prosecutor’s Office and carried out by the National Detectives Agency 20 persons were considered suspects. One of those could not be traced and another suspect, in the meantime, has died.

A total of 14 suspects were prisoners at the time that the investigation initiate. Of the suspects more than 10 were interrogated during the investigation.