One-time Bermuda-based businessman John Deuss has gone on trial in the Netherlands accused of banking without a license, disguising unusual transactions and forming a criminal organisation that made possible large-scale carousel fraud in England.
Dutch media sources reported today [Mar. 26] that the 69-year-old banker and oil trader was standing trial in Arnhem along with his sister Tineke in a court hearing which is expected to last at least 18 days.
Multi-millionaire Mr. Deuss [pictured] was arrested in Bermuda in 2006 during an investigation into carousel fraud, a sophisticated swindle which costs European taxpayers billions of pounds a year.
Mr. Deuss, who was then chairman of the Bermuda Commercial Bank [BCB], was detained by police on Bermuda after his disappearance from his luxury home in Smith’s Parish triggered an island-wide manhunt.
He later appeared in court and eventually agreed to be voluntarily extradited to Holland.
The Bermuda court was told Dutch authorities wanted him for questioning on suspicion of money laundering, handling stolen goods and “being in charge of a criminal organisation”.
An international warrant had been issued for Mr Deuss’s arrest after a bank he owned on Curaçao, in the Dutch Antilles, was closed in 2006 during an Anglo-Dutch investigation into carousel fraud.
British Customs officials had discovered that every individual arrested and charged with the fraud in the UK in the previous two years had an account at the First Curaçao International Bank [FCIB].
After raiding its headquarters and freezing its assets, investigators discovered that about 2,500 British citizens suspected of carousel fraud held accounts there.
Mr. Deuss later “temporarily” stepped down as chairman and chief executive of Bermuda Commercial Bank due to the criminal probe.
At the time FCIB, wholly owned by Mr. Deuss, was BCB’s biggest shareholder, with a 47 per cent stake. His sister, Tineke Deuss, was a director of FCIB.
Mr. Deuss, who had a home in Bermuda for 30 years and ran his TransWorld Oil company from the island, was once one of the world’s best-known oil dealers.
He came to prominence in the 1980s when he supplied the South African apartheid regime with oil, defying United Nations embargoes.
Since then he has also traded in Russian oil; in the 1990s, he became president of the Oman Oil Company.