Former NS director faces a year in jail for industrial espionage scandal

Muslim police trainee asks for right to wear headscarf in uniform

Former Dutch railways director Timo Huges should be jailed for one year for his ‘very serious failings’ during the Limburg regional transport tender process, the public prosecution department said on Tuesday. Two other senior railway staff should be jailed for eight and 10 months while three others face community service and fines of up to €50,000 for their role in the scandal. State-owned railway company NS also faces a fine of €3bn for industrial espionage during the competition to provide regional rail services in Limburg in 2014. The Dutch anti-cartel body ACM in June fined NS almost €41m for breaking competition law during the tender process. The contract was originally awarded to Abellio – a subsidiary of the NS. However, in late April 2015 evidence emerged of ‘serious irregularities’ in the contract process. In particular, NS officials are said to have passed on confidential information about Veolia – a competitor for the lucrative €2bn contract – to its Abellio and Qbuzz subsidiaries. The public prosecutor says Huges was not only responsible for the criminal behaviour but was also ‘actively involved’ in committing criminal acts, hence the call for a non-suspended prison term. Qbuzz has since been sold to BusItalia while Abellio now concentrates on railway concessions outside the Netherlands. After the scandal broke, Limburg a awarded the 15-year licence for bus and regional train services to Arriva, a British company now owned by German railway group Deutsche Bahn.  More >