Laveist to face forgery, fraud, bribery charges

Commissioner and Island Councilman Louie Laveist will have to appear in Court on February 11 to answer charges of forgery, fraud and bribery.

Windward Islands Chief Prosecutor Taco Stein said Wednesday that Laveist allegedly had committed these acts in relation to the issuance of employment permits and other official documents.

Laveist was arrested on October 22, 2008, and held eight days for questioning.

Stein confirmed that the Prosecutor’s Office had given Laveist’s summons to the police on Monday to deliver to the Commissioner. However, Stein said he had not yet received confirmation that Laveist had already been served with his summons. Therefore, he declined to give further details.  

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"We need to follow the proper procedures. I don’t want Mr. Laveist to learn of what he is being accused of via the media. This should be done through the proper channels," Stein said.

Attorney-at-law Remco Stomp was equally reluctant to provide details, but said the accusations were "out of proportion with the show of strength" displayed during Laveist’s arrest.

Laveist was interrogated repeatedly by federal detectives for eight days and released after a hearing before an investigating judge. His home and office were searched, and several computers and documents were seized.

"The case against my client is not of the same calibre as the criminal cases against former police commissioner Marcel Loor and other government officials," said Stomp. "One of the charges is not even a crime, but only a misdemeanour."

Although Laveist has been summoned to appear in court on February 11, it is unlikely that his case will be dealt with immediately. Next month’s court session probably will deal mainly with procedures to be followed, among which presumably will be the hearing of witnesses.

Stomp said the details of the case probably would not be discussed until April.