Justice ministers under fire over drugs lord payment

Ivo opsteltenJustice minister Ivo Opstelten wrongly informed parliament about a deal struck by his deputy with a drugs lord in 2000, television current affairs show Nieuwsuur said on Wednesday.

The programme said Teeven actually authorised a payment of 4.7 million guilders to convicted drugs dealer Cees H, not two million guilders as Opstelten told parliament a year ago. Nieuwsuur bases its claims on ‘multiple’ documents from the public prosecution department and other sources.

Opstelten told parliament a year ago he had been unable to trace any documents proving the size of the transaction. The deal to refund convicted drugs smuggler Cees H was approved by Teeven, who was then a public prosecutor.

The deal, which was kept secret from the tax authorities, hit the headlines in March 2014 when H’s lawyer at the time said his client had been paid back five million guilders.

The public prosecution department had sequestered around five million guilders in assets from drugs lord Cees H – including property and jewellery. However, the department was unable to prove the assets had been obtained illegally and so most of the money was returned to H.

Teeven agreed to the deal in ‘complete confidentiality’ so that ‘national and/or international tax services and fiscal authorities’ were not informed, NIeuwsuur said.


The money was paid pack to H via Luxemburg bank accounts, effectively laundering the money.

Opstelten said last year there are no financial details about the deal available because it happened too long ago and the documents had not been kept. In addition, IT systems have changed.

H’s current lawyer Jan-Hein Kuijper told the Pauw chat show later on Wednesday evening that he is in possession of the missing receipt.


‘I can confirm that the amount mentioned in Nieuwsuur is correct,’ Kuijpers said. However, he will not go public with the receipt because his client does not want him to, he said.

MPs said on Wednesday evening that Opstelten has a lot of explaining to do and are calling for an emergency debate on the issue.

Cees H was one of the leaders of a smuggling network known as Octopus which brought tons of cannabis from Pakistan into the Netherlands.

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