Suspect 19.5 million euros dont have to go back to Suriname

The Public Prosecutor (OM) does not have to repay 19.5 million euros to Surinamese banks for the time being. Its about money that the pros seized in 2018, on suspicion of money laundering.

The Supreme Court destroyed a court decision today. As a result, the case now has to be left at the Court of Justice in Amsterdam.

In April 2018, the proom seized the 19.5 million euro cash at Schiphol Airport. The money came from three Surinamese banks and was on its way to Hong Kong.

White Laundering suspicion

The prosecution had a serious suspicion that much of the money came from a crime, including because the money also consisted of large amounts of cash deposits. For example, one person had deposited a million euros to one of the banks within two days.

The banks deny that it was money laundering and say that the cash shipment was on its way to the Bank of China and would be transferred digitally in dollars to Suriname. For example, the large cash flows in Suriname can be converted into digital money, the banks say.

No Immunity

In December 2019, the case came to court and ruled that the money should not have been seized. That ruling was not about whether money laundering was or not, but the court ruled that the seizure was in breach of public international law.

The money was sent on behalf of the Central Bank of Suriname, which, according to the court at the time, is a state body with immunity. With this money, the Central Bank performed a legal task, namely coordinating the cash flows in Suriname, the judge said.

The Supreme Court is now destroying that statement. That immunity does not go up, says the Supreme Court, because the money was not owned by the Central Bank itself, but by three Surinamese banks. The Central Bank had โ€œnothing more than a facilitating role,โ€ says the Supreme Court.