In the Interest of the Public
Rabobank, a distinguished financial institution in the Netherlands, upholds stringent anti-money laundering (AML) standards. However, it appears that even the most scrupulous entities can be inadvertently entwined in questionable dealings when customers withhold essential information, such as allegations of tax evasion and money laundering.
Rob Koster, founder of Lexa.nl, Covast Development BV, Kovast (Both company names derived from KOSTER VAST GOED) and a public figure in the Netherlands, aimed to enhance his real estate holdings within the country. He, alongside his partner Jerry Saffrie the CEO of Covast Development, expressed interest in an old post office in Harderwijk that was listed for sale. Following an accepted offer, Koster actively sought capital investment to finalize the purchase but faced a financial deficit of 400,000 euros, a sum imperative to secure the deal.
In a twist of fortune, Koster managed to persuade his friend, Dominican Republic public figure Hugo Sluimer, originally also from Woerden, to invest the requisite 400,000 euros. Despite Koster possessing knowledge of Sluimer being implicated in money laundering and tax evasion schemes in the United States – evidence supported by public records, recorded phone calls, emails, and a witness – he proceeded to accept the capital for “De Posterij.”
The central inquiry hinges on whether Koster informed the Rabobank of these allegations. He insists that both Rabobank and his firm, Covast (managed by Jerry Saffrie), greenlighted Hugo Sluimer's involvement. Yet, were Rabobank and Covast ever formally briefed about Sluimer's alleged financial malfeasance?
In one revealing email below, Hugo Sluimer confessed to the existence of an offshore tax scheme he named a “Clean formula” and demanded confidentiality. Sluimer stated in a recorded phone conversation that this clean formula was managed by ICS (Michiel van Lienden) who is linked to money laundering, tax evasion and corruption cases according to news articles. Some ICS customer have been convicted.
To: Hugo Sluimer <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Bahamas / US Tax Structure
How are you?
A friend asked about you and your memorable penthouses. You met him in Miami. Anyway, he is still very interested in your structure and how you are legally able to avoid US taxation through Bahamas shell companies while flipping property in Miami. He thinks it is not possible.
As I understand it from you:
- There are 2 offshore companies.
- You pretend to be the “lender”. You are absolutely not allowed to be in the real estate company.
- Your partners / friends are the real estate investors and borrow the money from you. (their own funds + yours)
- You the “lender” charge very high interest to move the profits out of taxable waters.
- Then as interest accrues you the “lender” slowly distribute the profits to yourself and partners tax free.
- Credit Suisse set up this structure for you.
Please let me know if this is correct…
From: Hugo Sluimer <[email protected]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2018 3:16:18 PM
Subject: Re: Bahamas / US Tax Structure
Please don’t disclose any such info to anybody since it is confidential.
We are sure that we found a clean formula that works (double/triple checked it with specialists) and so far so good.
The details that you outlined below are partly incorrect and incomplete, but I don’t want to specify the exact ingredients.
I trust that you respect our confidentiality request to not disclose any such info to 3rd parties.
Hugo Sluimer is clearly worried about the confidentiality. The specialists Sluimer refers to are Paul Michiel van Lienden and ICS who have some customer that have been convicted and jailed for tax evasion and/or money laundering charges using formulas that sounds very similar. Sluimer was asked to show his US tax to show he paid his taxes but he refuses to release them. Documents show that he could not have filed tax US returns as he did not have an ITIN which is required. Was the Rabobank made aware of Sluimers “Clean Formula”?
Jerry Saffrie, CEO of Covast Development which owns SVO (The owner of “de Posterij”), has been silent, offering no response to multiple written inquiries about Hugo Sluimer’s investment with him and its relation to the tax evasion and money laundering allegations. Whether Saffrie reported the suspect transaction to the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) as required remains unknown.
Rob Koster appears to be strategically shielding both Hugo Sluimer and himself from further scrutiny and potential repercussions. Koster falsely claimed to not have accepted a cent from Sluimer and had absolutely nothing to do with "De Posterij" but emails showed that he conclusively did. Why he lied about his affiliation with the posterij and Sluimer's money is only a question he can answer but it should be investigated. Ironically, the company names Covast and Kovast were both derived from his own last name Koster.
When asked if Koster disclosed the Money laundering and Tax evasion accusations to the Rabobank prior to the origination of the loan, he avoided the question by saying all of his contacts know and his bank in Monaco too, which is irrelevant. He also said he banks with another bank (not Rabobank). However, public records show his company SVO (owned by Covast Development B.V) did use the Rabobank to fund "de Posterij" as seen in court records below:
Translated court records from Rechspraak.nl:
SVO is a joint venture of two project developers, namely: Covast Development B.V. and Ievema Beheer B.V.
2.4. Rabobank has provided SVO with a loan for the realization of the complex. The amount of that loan has been deposited in a construction depot. It was agreed between Rabobank, SVO, and [defendant] that [defendant] sends her invoices to SVO. After SVO's approval, she sends these to Rabobank, along with any other evidence. If Rabobank finds the submitted documents to be in order, it will pay the amount directly from the construction depot to [defendant]. Additionally, it was agreed that SVO pledges the credit in the construction depot to both [defendant] and Rabobank, with [defendant] being first in rank and Rabobank being second.
The stakes are high for all parties involved. It is surprising that Koster would lie about being involved with the "de posterij" Hugo Sluimer and the Rabobank as it tarnishes his credibility. Koster is responsible for accepted 400,000 Euros into his company from a person he knew was accused of tax evasion, money laundering and refuses to release his US tax returns could have catastrophic consequences. The central question remains: Did Rob Koster and Hugo Sluimer disclose the Money laundering and tax evasion accusations as required to the Rabobank before the loan was originated?