Failed funeral group claimed to have ‘misled tax office’

ABN Amro bank has cut its €2.5m credit line to coffin maker Bogra and its stablemate funeral services group RSN after discovering a series of irregularities in late June, the Telegraaf said on Monday.

The Telegraaf also alleges a €1m payment to the tax office went missing. ABN Amro cut its ties with the companies on 20 June. A week later they went bankrupt.

With branch offices throughout the country, a 30% market share and a large customer base including funeral insurer Dela which is good for 30,000 coffins a year, the Damhuis family which owns the firms would appear to be sitting pretty, the Telegraaf writes.

But this ‘wholesaler in mourning’ was plagued by problems. The company was allegedly defaulting on crippling interest and redemption obligations to banks, investors and the tax office, a Telegraaf investigation revealed.

A confidential report by the accountancy firm Mazars apparently said things had not been going well with the Damhuis’s companies for years. Acquisitions, poor financial management and insufficient means forced the firms into the red, the Telegraaf stated.

Linda Damhuis told the Telegraaf that the companies denied any improper bookkeeping or missing funds. ‘The bank assumed incorrect data and so drew incorrect conclusions. In our view, this does not befit a financial institution such as ABN Amro,’ she reportedly wrote, also on behalf of her husband.

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