Interpol withdraws red notice for Surinamese ex-governor
Gillmore Hoefdraad, the ex-governor of the Central Bank of Suriname is still being pursued by Surinamese authorities on corruption-related charges. Interpol was asked to help locate him and extradite him to Suriname, but has dropped the pursuit over concerns the charges are politically motivated.

Interpol has withdrawn a ‘wanted’ notice for Gillmore Hoefdraad, former governor of the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS), over concerns that the charges are unclear and may be politically motivated.

Grossman Young & Hammond, a US law firm representing Hoefdraad, issued a press release on May 12, saying: “Interpol has rescinded the red notice requested by Suriname that sought his (Hoefdraad’s) detention and extradition”. The firm had represented Hoefdraad in proceedings challenging the notice. A red notice is a request for law enforcement agencies worldwide to arrest a person wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Interpol said it decided to drop the pursuit of Hoefdraad because the Surinamese authorities failed to provide sufficient evidence about the legal basis for the charges. It said Surinamese officials failed to demonstrate that the charges that were brought against Hoefdraad were normal criminal matters, rather than politically motivated. Interpol’s constitution does not permit it to undertake any intervention or activities of a political...character, hence the withdrawal of the red notice, according to an article on centralbanking.com.

The Surinamese authorities had prosecuted Hoefdraad for embezzlement despite lacking evidence that he enriched himself, his legal team said in a release. Hoefdraad was convicted by a Surinamese court in absentia on corruption-related charges in December 2021. The court ruled that he diverted public funds and violated the anti-corruption statute in collusion with one of his successors at the Central Bank of Suriname, Robert van Trikt, and other defendants. Hoefdraad was handed a 12-year sentence. It is believed he fled Suriname in July 2020, prompting Suriname to appeal to Interpol to locate him. According to a screenshot of an Interpol notification that was carried in Surinamese paper Waterkant, the red notice for Hoefdraad was issued on June 8.

Hoefdraad was governor of the CBvS between 2010 and 2015. He then served as finance minister for five years up to 2020 when Desi Bouterse lost the election to the current government.

Despite Interpol’s withdrawal of the red notice for Hoefdraad, Surinamese authorities indicated that they would continue to pursue him. The former governor appears in the top position in a May 2022 list of Suriname’s most-wanted fugitives.

Van Trikt who was governor of the CBvS was found guilty on corruption related charges on January 31 and received an eight-year sentence. He was accused of awarding a US$1.1-million contract to his accountancy firm and purchasing two expensive cares tax free.

Suriname has a serious debt problem which forced it to turn to the IMF for help last year. Its debt load reached about 150 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2020. In the same year its economy shrank 16 per cent. It had three default events in 2020 and 2021 but is now on track to recover under the guidance of the IMF.

The country also suffers from high inflation which was measured at 61.5 per cent, year-over-year in January 2022.

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