Property sector fraud trial kicks off

The trial of 50 property traders, suspected of forgery, corruption and money laundering starts in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Nos tv reports.

The public prosecution department says traders were involved in stealing some €200m from their companies. The Financieele Dagblad puts the damage at at least €250m.
One of the main suspects is Cees Hakstege, a former director at Rabobank’s property development arm Bouwfonds.
Dubious bills
‘The case came to light when a tax inspector checked out one of Hakstage’s receipts,’ a public prosecution department spokesman told Nos. ‘He asked questions but did not get a clear answer. He then came across a money trail which led to more dubious bills.’
On Tuesday, two men involved in three major projects for Bouwfonds will appear in court. Although the actual works cost €49m, the men obtained €67m from Bouwfonds, and salted the extra €18m away in secret bank accounts, the prosecution alleges.
The two most important suspects – the former heads of Bouwfonds and the Philips pension fund – will not appear in court until next year. They are alleged to have spent money on projects which were never carried out and managed to use complicated accounting techniques and bribes to have the money placed on their own bank accounts.
The first police raids in the connection with the case took place in 2007, involving 50 addresses across the country.

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