Tuesday May 17,2016 : DUTCH M.P. CONTINUES ATTACK ON CURACAO GAMBLING AUTHORITIES (Update)
Accuses local telecommunications and data centres of close involvement in online gambling.
Dutch MP Ronald Van Raak continued to press for explanations from the Dutch Ministers of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and Security and Justice this week following his repeated calls earlier this month for more information on the activities of various Curacao-based companies and the island's online gambling regulator
The tenacious Member of Parliament has addressed 40 written questions to the Dutch Ministers, reports the Curacao Chronicle, claiming that telecommunications company UTS and the CTEX datacentre are too closely involved with online casinos such as Bit Casino, Mark Bell Casino and Zon Casino, which allegedly operate from the premises of UTS.
According to Van Raak the government-owned company plays a central role, and in 2007 became a member of the Curaçao Interactive Gaming Association (CIGA), which is responsible for the award of so-called master licenses. This is done under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice. UTS supplies not only office and mailing addresses, but also network and telecommunications infrastructure to gambling companies, the MP alleges.
Further, according to the MP, UTS is even deeper into the online gambling industry through close connections with E-powerhouse (IDG) and Ctex e-zone facilities and a private data centre. And he claims that the master licensee / ISP CyberLuck provides licensing options compliance services, bank account numbers, payment and software for online gaming.
"This means that the government of Curaçao, through UTS and via the illegal SMS lotteries and partly illegal online casinos, is supporting the gambling industry on the island," the Chronicle reports.
Additionally, according to Van Raak, the Gaming Control Board exercises no control over online gambling, partly because of a lack of legalization. The MP notes that Nelson Navarro, the current Minister of Justice, has once again extended the master licenses of the four master licensees, doing this without first arranging adequate legalization and supervision.
Van Raak has also criticised UTS for its involvement in illegal SMS lotteries, alleging that the Curacao Bureau of Telecommunications and Post has never held the telecommunication company accountable for this illegal activity.
And, Van Raak says, he believes that KPMG plays an important role, and that in 2006, this relationship was strengthened by the appointment of an ex-KPMG employee as CEO of UTS.
Van Raak estimates yearly earnings from the Curacao online gambling sector are in the range 1.3 to 3 billion guilders annually, and he has called for more transparency regarding the UTS annual reportage, saying that even the company's Supervisory Board does not have access to the individual financial statements of the parent and subsidiary companies, and that it has not approved the financial statements of UTS since 2011.
Further, the Government Accountant Bureau, according to the MP, has no access to the statutory financial statements of the parent and subsidiary companies.
Responding Friday to the Van Raak allegations regarding its operations, KPMG said it was regrettable that the Dutch MP had not contacted it before submitting their parliamentary questions.
In a public statement, KPMG said:
“DC KPMG is the auditor of the telecommunications company UTS. The suggested link between UTS and KPMG on the one hand and Robbie’s Lotteries and Francesco Corallo on the other hand does not exist. KPMG DC today, following the interview of Mr Bosman [another Dutch MP who supports the Van Raak enquiry] on Radio Direct, took note for the first time of the statement made by Mr. Corallo in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant.
"Mr. Corallo made this statement on September 15, 2015 and announced in this interview that his books are audited by KPMG. This information is incorrect. The audit by KPMG DC referred to by Mr. Corallo in this interview, was at a company affiliated with him in St. Maarten that was formally terminated in early 2015.
"In previous years, KPMG DC did not do any audits at any of Corallo’s businesses."
Regarding the termination, KPMG DC stated; “We will not make any statements, other than that the termination came about on our initiative.”