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Close contact between Surinamese President, Roger Khan- Dutch newspaper

Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse (Photo ANP?Edward Troon)

Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse was allegedly in close contact with convicted Guyanese drug baron, Shaheed “Roger” Khan while he was a parliamentarian, the Dutch publication NRC Handelsblad reported on Saturday.

The NRC says the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has hard evidence that “President Desi Bouterse in the period he was parliamentarian had close contacts with one of the largest drug offenders from the region”. The newspaper claims to have studied and gained access to digital sources of information ‘print-out’ of the satellite phone of drug criminal / businessman Roger Khan, who was convicted in 2009.  Khan, who was arrested in Suriname in June 2006 and taken to Trinidad where he was snatched by American agents and flown to New York, is serving a lengthy prison sentence in the US.

NRC states that the mobile number Bouterse appears on printouts several times. The calls took place between late 2005 and mid-June 2006. In a U.S. diplomatic post in 2011 leaked by WikiLeaks, there were “social and operational links” between Bouterse and Khan. Journalist Hans Buddingh, author of the article, has long been investigating this matter and was recently in Suriname. In the 1990s, he and his colleague Marcel Haenen conducted extensive research on drug issues.

No response from Weski

Bouterse’s lawyer Inez Weski asked for comment, Friday could not say anything to TVNZ behalf on behalf of her client. She said there probably is no response, “because people in Paramaribo may wonder if you should respond”.

According to intelligence sources, the links between Desi Bouterse and Khan were part of a drug network to which Piet Carrot and Dino Bouterse belonged. “The son of the Surinamese President is held for three weeks now in New York on charges of cocaine smuggling.”

The trial, which begins in December, will be one of the largest Dutch drug cases in years. According Weski, who defends Carrot, Khan will be heard as a witness.

Various lines
In the article, the paper also looks at the murder of the head of Suriname’s Aviation Authority, John Veira in April 2010. It is still not clear, despite a lawsuit, why Veira was killed. According to NRC Handelsblad in Paramaribo no one doubts that there Veira was killed because he played an important role in the fight against drugs.

In the article the newspaper queries whether the arrest of Dino opens a new chapter in the “already sizeable Surinamese drugs case in which the name of Desi Bouterse always resurfaces and whether the charges against the son are a prelude to new charges against the father?”

A diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks states that Dino was involved in weapons smuggling from Guyana to Suriname. That note states that he had travelled with a football team a few years to Buxton and it was believed that weapons were taken to the Guyanese village of Buxton at that time. Buxton was a haven for heavily armed gangs that had resulted in the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) having to set up a base in that village.