Judges hand out tougher sentences in massive property fraud case

justice courts legal systemA number of businessmen involved in a massive property development fraud in the Netherlands were given tougher jail sentences by Amsterdam’s appeal court on Friday.

Main suspect Jan van Vlijmen was sentenced to seven years in jail – almost double the four year sentence he was given at the original trial.  Van Vlijmen, who worked for the Bouwfonds property investment firm at the time of the fraud, was found guilty of money laundering, fraud, bribery and membership of a criminal organisation.

Property developers, accountants, notaries and pension fund officials were among the 12 men whose sentences were up for review.

The scandal was nicknamed the Klimop or Ivy case because of the number of branches it had and how difficult it was to eradicate.

Biggest case

It centred on the sale and development of property by the Philips pension fund and developer Bouwfonds and represents the ‘biggest case’ in the history of the Fiod-ECD economic crime investigation department.

The scandal is estimated to have cost the pension fund and property developer up to €250m, of which €141m has been clawed back in out of court settlements and other actions.

The scandal, which dates back to 1995, came to light in 2007 when it emerged pension fund bosses had been taking bribes in return for passing on confidential information. They had also bought and sold property at below the market rates.

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