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Dutch oil tycoon cuts multi-million dollar deal

Published:Sunday | August 4, 2013 | 12:08 PM

HAMILTON, Bermuda, Aug 3, CMC -- Bermuda-based Dutch oil tycoon John Deuss has struck a "pragmatic" US$47 million deal with prosecutors in his native Netherlands to settle allegations of money laundering.

The settlement, agreed this week, will enable Dutch authorities to recoup almost half the funds allegedly lost, while finally ending a seven-year legal headache for Deuss.

"The investigation has kept the parties busy for almost seven years already, and it is time-consuming and costly," Deuss said in a statement.

"The settlement is the result of pragmatic considerations. The legal proceedings would have dragged on for years on end. This is now prevented."

Deuss, 71, former chairman of the Bermuda Commercial Bank, was arrested in Bermuda in 2006 and was voluntarily extradited to his homeland to face a raft of charges.

Last year he was given a six-month suspended jail sentence and fined $409,000 by a Dutch court for banking without a license and not reporting unusual transactions.

Another more serious charge -- being a member of a criminal organisation -- was not proved, but Deuss faced a fourth charge relating to his First Curacao International Bank (FCIB).

Reports said customers moved money among FCIB accounts in a manner resembling money laundering.

Prosecutors also alleged the bank was used for carousel fraud -- a scheme in which culprits falsely claim VAT (value added tax) payouts, and seek refunds from the government.

The complicated tax swindle was said to have cost the United Kingdom billions of euros in tax every year.

Deuss was alleged to have netted $100 million from the practice, but has always maintained his innocence.

None of the allegations was related to the businessman's commercial interests in Bermuda, the Royal Gazette newspaper reported on Saturday.