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Suriname ex-official sentenced in drug money case

Suriname ex-official sentenced in drug money case

A former justice minister was sentenced Monday to a year in prison after being convicted of money laundering and participating in a criminal organization on behalf of a cousin in the Netherlands.
Siegfried Gilds laundered drug money from his cousin by buying homes and land between 2000 and 2005 while serving as justice minister in this former Dutch colony, Surinamese Judge Anand Charan said at a sentencing hearing in a Paramaribo court.
The cousin, Andy Groenewoud, was sentenced in 2006 by a Dutch court to 30 months for drug convictions. Groenewoud has testified that Gilds was his business representative in this small country on the northeastern shoulder of South America.
Gilds' lawyer, Alwin Baarh, criticized Monday's ruling.
"The judge did not present any arguments on which his decision was based. We will immediately appeal this sentence," Baarh said.
Under Surinamese law, Gilds will not go to prison as long as his appeal is active.
Gilds declined to answer questions outside the court but said the Surinamese people "will continue hearing my voice."
As justice minister in 2004, Gilds announced a plan with the Netherlands to fight cocaine trafficking between Suriname and Europe. He was appointed trade minister in 2005 but resigned soon after, citing his cousin's drug investigation.


Updated : 2021-05-08 04:11 GMT+08:00