VVD MP quits over expenses allegations: his integrity was at issue

Amsterdam contaminated ‘cocaine’ makes three tourists ill

An MP for the right-wing Liberal VVD resigned on Friday after a party committee said facts about his behaviour did not meet the party’s ‘integrity standards’. Mark Verheijen is at the centre of allegations that he wrongly declared thousands of euros of private and campaign expenses while a Limburg provincial councillor. In addition, a local businessman has made formal allegations of corruption against the MP. Verheijen said he is resigning with ‘pain in his heart’ but that the committee’s verdict leaves him with no other choice. The MP said it is impossible to do his job if his integrity is open to debate. It is not good ‘for my party or for politics in general’, he said in a statement. [banner]  More >

Three tourists ill after taking 'cocaine'

Amsterdam contaminated ‘cocaine’ makes three tourists ill Three Danish tourists were hospitalised in Amsterdam on Wednesday night after taking white heroin which they had been sold as cocaine, the city council said on Friday. The three, aged 21 to 24, are the first victims to be recorded since November 25, when the city council began a major information offensive. Three British tourists died after taking the drug and at least 14 were taken ill during the first wave last year. The campaign warning tourists not to buy from street dealers will now be restarted, the council said. [banner] ‘Preventing more people becoming victims is more important than… any eventual negative effect on the city’s image,’ the council said. It is not yet clear if the drugs involved in this latest case come from the same source as last year. The public prosecution department has issued a €15,000 reward for a tip leading to the dealer being tracked down.  More >

Tougher sentences in property fraud appeal

Amsterdam contaminated ‘cocaine’ makes three tourists ill A number of businessmen involved in a massive property development fraud in the Netherlands were given tougher jail sentences by Amsterdam’s appeal court on Friday. Main suspect Jan van Vlijmen was sentenced to seven years in jail – almost double the four year sentence he was given at the original trial.  Van Vlijmen, who worked for the Bouwfonds property investment firm at the time of the fraud, was found guilty of money laundering, fraud, bribery and membership of a criminal organisation. Property developers, accountants, notaries and pension fund officials were among the 12 men whose sentences were up for review. [banner] The scandal was nicknamed the Klimop or Ivy case because of the number of branches it had and how difficult it was to eradicate. Biggest case It centred on the sale and development of property by the Philips pension fund and developer Bouwfonds and represents the ‘biggest case’ in the history of the Fiod-ECD economic crime investigation department. The scandal is estimated to have cost the pension fund and property developer up to €250m, of which €141m has been clawed back in out of court settlements and other actions. The scandal, which dates back to 1995, came to light in 2007 when it emerged pension fund bosses had been taking bribes in return for passing on confidential information. They had also bought and sold property at below the market rates.  More >

Taxi firms make formal Uberpop complaint

Amsterdam contaminated ‘cocaine’ makes three tourists ill Amsterdam taxi company TCA and sector organisation KNV Taxi have made a formal complaint against Uber for continuing to offer its Uberpop unlicenced taxi services. They want the government to 'take action against this illegal taxi service as soon as possible', pointing out that Uberpop has already been declared illegal in the courts. 'We are now seven months on and nothing has changed,' the two organisations are quoted as saying by news agency ANP. 'Despite the fines, there are still illegal Uberpop drivers in the big cities.' [banner] Last weekend there were several incidents in Amsterdam and Utrecht where licenced cabbies tried to block Uberpop drivers. Hundreds of taxi drivers also took part in an anti-Uberpop demonstration in The Hague earlier this month. Uberpop's app allows private car owners to use their vehicles as taxis at cheap rates.  More >

Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten set to quit

‘Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten set to quit at end of season’ Feyenoord coach Fred Rutten is poised to leave the Rotterdam club at the end of this season, the Telegraaf says on Friday. Rutten, 52, has been attached to Feyenoord since last summer when he replaced Ronald Koeman. Sources say the decision was taken before Thursday night’s 2-1 defeat by AS Roma, which put the Rotterdammers out of the Europa League. The club has refused to confirm or deny the rumours and says it will publish a statement next week. Feyenoord are currently joint third in the Eredivise,six points behind Ajax and 20 points behind PSV. [banner]  More >