Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals

Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals

Justice ministry officials in the Netherlands confiscated over €221m from convicted criminals last year, well above their target of €138m. The total is made up of cash found during police raids but most comes from settlements and declarations, the public prosecution department said. The 2016 figure of €416m was inflated to the tune of €268m by a massive out of court settlement with telecoms company VimpelCom - the biggest deal in Dutch legal history. Public prosecution department official Marianne Bloos said in a video statement that targeting criminal assets has led the perpetrators to be more innovative in their approach to laundering or hiding cash. 'We have to do the same, and that means innovating across the entire process,' she said. 'Cooperation with foreign justice departments is improving but at the same time, criminals are using other methods, such as bitcoins, to move their money around.'  More >

Dutch have probed 30 possible WMD exports

Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals The Netherlands has instigated 30 criminal investigations into the possible export of chemicals, materials or equipment which could be used to make weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) since 2012, ministers said on Thursday. Virtually all cases where the investigations have been completed have ‘led to a conviction’, defence minister Ank Bijleveld and foreign minister Halbe Zijlstra told parliament in a briefing, without giving further details. The export of equipment and chemicals which can be used to make such weapons is banned under UN and EU treaties to which the Netherlands is a signatory. The ministers were responding to MPs questions in the wake of an interview given by Onno Eichelsheim, head of the Dutch military security service MIVD, in which he said the Netherlands was ‘a supermarket’ for countries seeking to obtain technology for the development of WMDs. Such technology and related products is particularly interesting for countries such as Iran, Pakistan, North Korea and Syria, the MIVD director said in the interview with news agency ANP last September. That interview, the ministers said on Thursday, had been given to make Dutch companies and institutes aware of the risk, so that attempts to win expertise and materials could be headed off. Most of the products involved were dual use – and could also have a legitimate civilian purpose, the ministers said. ‘They are subject to strict supervision and controls and have to be properly licenced for export,’ the ministers said.  More >

Syria returnees arrested at Schiphol

Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals A 33-year-old woman from Ede and a 30-year-old man from Amsterdam have been arrested at Schiphol airport on their return from Syria and Iraq where they are suspected of taking part in terrorism. The two were escorted back from Turkey by military police on Friday after an international arrest warrant had been issued for them, the public prosecution department said. They had crossed into Turkey independently of each other. The department says the woman had twice been to the conflict region, in 2014 and then again in 2015. The man is said to have left the Netherlands in 2013 to take part in the armed conflict. The woman was remanded in custody for two weeks by magistrates in Rotterdam on Tuesday. The man will appear in court on Friday. The Dutch security service AIVD says some 280 Dutch jihadis are known to have gone to Iraq and Syria and around 50 have returned home.   More >

Police 'mole' denies laundering €79,000

Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals A former police officer described as the 'worst rotten apple in years' has denied earning tens of thousands of euros by leaking details of criminal investigations to gangsters. Mark M. appeared in court on Monday to answer charges that he laundered €79,000 that he received for passing on information from confidential files. M. admitted that he had trawled police computers as a 'hobby' but denied selling the information to criminals. M. spent six years in police service until he was arrested in September 2015. He was alleged to have arranged 'subscriptions' starting at €5,000 a month for criminals to obtain information held in the BlueView information system. Police found €4,000 in cash at M.'s home in Weert. But the former officer said the cash came from a business venture in Ukraine, his girlfriend's native country, where transactions are commonly made in cash. Former police chief Gerard Bouman earlier described M. as 'the worst rotten apple in years.' It emerged that M. was one of more than 100 police staff who were given access to confidential files despite failing the screening checks. 'I am especially concerned that this could have happened because of mistakes by police personnel,' Bouman said shortly after M. was arrested. In court, M. said the Rijksrecherche, the police's internal investigations unit, had 'taken the whole story out of context'. He claimed most of the money came in the form of a €60,000 loan from his partner, though he admitted he had no idea where she had got it from. 'It's normal in Ukraine to have large sums of money in cash,' he said. 'Nobody asks where it comes from. If someone buys a Bentley in Ukraine, his neighbours think he's doing good business. In the Netherlands they go and ask the police where he got the money from.' M. said the impact of the case and the publicity surrounding it had hindered his efforts to start up a telecoms and security business in Ukraine. He added that his dismissal from the police force was the subject of another legal dispute.  More >

Armed robberies continue to decline

Justice officials confiscate over €221m from convicted criminals The number of armed robberies on homes and business premises in the Netherlands continues to go down but police chiefs say in Thursday's Telegraaf they are concerned that the robbers are getting younger. Last year there were 1,103 armed robberies across the country, a drop of 30 on 2016 and well down on 2009 when they reached a peak of over 3,000. Of the total, 396 robberies were carried out on private homes, virtually the same as in 2016. 'It would appear that the professional robber is now turning to other sorts of crime, such as blowing up ATMs or the drugs trade which deliver more profits,' police armed robbery coordinator Jos van der Stap told the paper. 'For example, there were just two armed robberies on jewellery shops last year.' Today's armed robbery is more of a a 'hit and run', impulsive crime, he said. 'But it is extremely concerning that a lot of these sort of robberies are committed by youngsters, particularly in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.' Among the examples cited by the Telegraaf: in November a 14-year-old with a knife tried to rob a cafe in Zoetermeer and in Rotterdam, police have arrested a 13 and 15-year-old for robbing a haberdashery store. Police say that the number of youngsters involved in crime is now being analysed, which will give a better picture of the problem.  More >