Henk Krol, founder of the new political party 50Plus, has left the party and parliament following newspaper claims about his failure to pay pension premiums while editor of the GayKrant newspaper.
The Volkskrant reports on Friday morning Krol did not pay premiums for newspaper staff between 2004 and 2007 and again in 2009. In total, tens of thousands of euros are involved.
50Plus, which has two seats in parliament, focuses on the rights of older people to a decent pension and is currently riding high in the polls. Krol has been highly criticial of employers ‘stealing’ from pension funds.
In a statement on Friday, Krol said that it is impossible for him to continue as a representative of the people. ‘I can do nothing else but resign,’ Krol said. ‘My battle is over, my enemies have won.’
In the statement, Krol says he is by nature a fighter rather than a bookkeeper and that other people took care of the paper’s financial business. ‘The fight was always more important to me than the money,’ he said.
‘I have made a lot of mistakes and I have enemies. My fight was always a just one, but my approach as not always thought through properly.’
Krol’s failure to ensure the payments means some staff have a five-year pension gap and have a pension of €60 a month after 12 to 15 years with the paper.
When the shortfall, which Krol blames on another worker, became clear, employers were asked to sign a confidential document saying they accepted the situation. Without the pension money, the paper would have gone bankrupt, Krol is quoted as saying.
The Volkskrant says it obtained the information used in its article via publeaks, the new online platform for whistleblowers set up by a number of Dutch media organisations.
The GayKrant finally went bankrupt this March.
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