St Maarten expand bribery probe of Opposition leader

PHILIPSBURG, St Maarten (AP) — Authorities in St Maarten are investigating the leader of the island's main opposition party following allegations that he asked the manager of a strip club to help blackmail a fellow legislator.

Solicitor General Taco Stein said late Monday that officials expanded the probe after local media reported that United People's Party leader Theo Heyliger allegedly sought to blackmail legislator Patrick Illidge so he could break the current ruling coalition and seize control of government.

Illidge is an independent parliamentarian but forms part of St Maarten's governing coalition.

He appeared in a recently publicised video as seeming to accept stacks of money from the manager of the Bada Bing strip club as they discussed business permits.

Heyliger did not respond to requests for comment.

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