Two former councillors in The Hague went on trial on corruption charges on Friday, more than three years after their homes and offices were raided by police.
Richard de Mos and Rachid Guernaoui, whose party won most votes in the March local elections despite the investigation, are accused of being members of a criminal organisation, breaking secrecy laws and bribing voters.
Several local businessmen also face charges in connection with the same case. The prosecution and defence will outline their main arguments on Friday, while the trial proper is scheduled for January.
The public prosecution department alleges that De Mos and Guernaoui passed on information to party centre owner Atilla Akyol and his brother about licences to open at night, before this was made public. Akyol’s company Opera was awarded two of the five night permits.
The public prosecutor has also identified €113,000 in donations to De Mos’ political party Groep de Mos/Hart voor Den Haag which it describes as suspicious.
De Mos and Guernaoui have always denied the charges, describing the investigation as a witch hunt, but do admit that the party has been funded by local business.
Blij dat er eindelijk schot in de zaak zit. Na een ongekende heksenjacht, 3 jaar (!) wachten en een trial by media vandaag de regiezitting en vanaf januari de inhoudelijke behandeling. Zin an! Vandaag met opgeheven hoofd aanwezig. Dank voor de vele steun! https://t.co/Nvbdfa6sl5
— Richard de Mos 💚💛 (@RicharddeMos) October 14, 2022
De Mos’ lawyer Peter Plasman told the court on Friday that there is not enough evidence to prosecute his clients.
Hart voor Den Haag won nine seats on the 46 seat city council in the March elections but was kept out of the coalition talks by the other parties.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation