VVD chairman steps down while integrity committee checks deal

Henry Keizer. Photo: Facultatieve Media via Wikimedia Commons

The chairman of the right-wing Liberal party VVD who came under fire for his involvement in a controversial million euro crematorium deal, has stepped down pending an inquiry by the party’s integrity committee.

Henry Keizer took over the commercial arm of a Dutch crematorium association in 2012 for €12.5m, even though the company had been valued at €31.5m. At the time, he was also an advisor to the association, website Follow the Money revealed last month.

It later transpired that Keizer is also chairman of the association and this allows him to control what information about the 2012 deal is made public.

‘Last Friday I asked the Integrity Committee to carry out an investigation,’ Keizer said on Tuesday evening. ‘I have also noted that the media commotion has not died down. This is damaging to the VVD and hinders me from doing my job. So I have decided to step down temporarily while the investigation takes place.’

Prime minister Mark Rutte said he has full confidence in Keizer. ‘We support our people and don’t drop them, so long as there is no proof they do not have integrity,’ he said. ‘Henry Keizer can show the accusations are unfounded.’

Keizer came under further fire on Friday when he banned journalists from Follow the Money, which broke the story, from attending a meeting to hear his side of the story.

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