Amsterdam asbestos scandal covers city

An investigation into a building scam involving asbestos has been extended to cover all of Amsterdam, police confirmed on Tuesday.

Several construction projects have been stopped because of a ‘acute health risk’ from asbestos, the Parool said on Tuesday. The police have refused to say which buildings are involved. Last week six people were arrested in connection with the affair.
The scandal involves asbestos removed by unqualified workers without proper licences during conversion work. Two civil servants from the construction permits office at Oud-Zuid and Oud-West district councils were arrested on suspicion of helping the builders dodge permit requirements.
The property companies concerned – Diacra Holding and AB Vastgoed – have converted large numbers of existing buildings in the capital into separate accommodation units. To qualify for splitting, a building must meet a number of strict environmental and construction regulations.
The Parool reports that the two firms have been given 63 permits and a further 19 are pending, meaning hundreds of flats could be involved. The paper says that the two companies spent around €130m on buying up properties. Once legally divided, the individual flats can be sold off, generating profits of up to 300%, it adds.

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