MPs want answers on Zalm merger bonus

MPs have called on finance minister Wouter Bos to explain why Gerrit Zalm, in charge of merging ABN Amro and Fortis into a single financial services group, stands to make up to €1.5m from the deal.

When Bos outlined details of Zalm’s appointment earlier this year, he said Zalm’s bonus would be a maximum €375,000 – or half his annual wage. Many MPs did not realise Zalm would get this amount for up to four years, according to media reports on Tuesday.
MPs are also angry that the bonus is based on the merged bank selling for at least €19.3bn, when the government has invested a total €23.3bn in the project so far. But Zalm is not reponsible for the state’s investment in Fortis’ insurance activities and that is being left out of the equation.
Opposition and coalition MPs have told Bos to explain the figures. ‘I want to know when the counting begins,’ said Frank de Nerée of the coalition Christian Democrats.
According to news agency ANP, Zalm told a meeting on Monday the agreement ‘is well within the banking code of conduct’ due to come into effect on January 1.
He declined to comment further and said it was up to the finance minister to explain the situation to MPs.

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