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Couple's break-up leads to "bloody" court battle
The Daily Herald, Wednesday, April 2, 2008

PHILIPSBURG - The separation of Italian national Bruno Palchetti (51) from his girlfriend, who is twenty years his junior, led to a ferocious fight over the couple's earthly goods, to two court cases, and one conviction.

Palchetti was sentenced in absentia Tuesday to 80 days in prison, 51 of which were suspended, on forgery, theft and embezzlement charges. Prosecutor Dikran Sarian, who considered all charges proven, had requested 29 days in prison plus 71 days suspended, with two years probation. Things went terribly wrong in 2006 after the couple's relationship of 12 years had ended. Palchetti's former girlfriend started a case against her ex partner after he took paintings and documents that belonged to her. These items had been stored in a container.

Palchetti was also accused of having falsely obtained documents to claim ownership of a boat that had been confiscated by the prosecutor, and of having provided the court with falsified documents during civil case about the ownership of the couple's properties. Palchetti's ex is a painter and apparently had accumulated considerable wealth. The couple had owned several apartments at Simpson Bay Yacht Club. The Italian was not present during the court hearing. After his 29-day detention was lifted, he had obtained permission to leave the island to visit his mother in Italy, who reportedly was ill. Despite promises to do so, he never returned to St. Maarten.

Palchett's attorney Eric Bokkes said the Prosecutor was following his client's ex- partner in "throwing mud" at his client in her bid for revenge. "The prosecutor is suffering from tunnel vision," Bokkes said. He said all document should have been thoroughly checked. "If they are false, they could also have been falsified by the woman". Bokkes pleaded for his client's acquittal on all charges and added that this case would be better served within the framework of civil procedure. In one case, Judge R. Goossens considered the forgery of documents proven. He also found Palchetti guilty of fraud in the case of the ship's registration, as well as of the embezzlement of items from the container


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