TV presenter Khalid Kasem steps down after bribery claims emerge

Khalid Kasem (right) with co-presenter Sophie Hilbrand. Photo: ANP/HH/Marlies Wessels

TV presenter Khalid Kasem has stepped back from his duties after allegations surfaced that he bribed an official during his earlier career as a defence lawyer. reported that Kasem, 45, tried to secure an early release for one of his clients by paying €8,000 to an unnamed official in the prison service. At the time Kasem was working with the late investigative journalist Peter R. de Vries.

The allegations were included in a recording made at De Vries’s office, obtained by AD, in which the journalist confronted Kasem with the claims.

“Either someone has been twisting Hans’s [the client] arm, or you went ahead and bribed somebody,” De Vries says in the recording. Kasem replies: “I didn’t twist his arm. That leaves the other option.”

Kasem denied the allegations when questioned by the newspaper, but said he would not be appearing as a presenter of the late-night talk show Khalid & Sophie while the prison service (DJI) and the Dutch bar association NOvA investigate the matter.

“Let me be clear that I have never been guilty of bribing an official,” he said in a statement.

Evening talk show

The allegations come just as Khalid & Sophie, co-presented with Sophie Hilbrand, was preparing to move from its late-night slot to a 7pm start time. The future of the show, which is due to begin its new season on January 29, is now in doubt.

“We cannot say at the moment how the presenting team will be made up,” a spokesman for broadcasting company BNNVARA told RTL.

It is not the first time allegations stemming from Kasem’s legal background have interrupted his TV career. In 2015 AD reported that the prosecution service suspected him of leaking information to the drugs gang run by Ridouan Taghi, just as he was being lined up to front a show to replace De Wereld Draait Door in the 7pm time slot.

Eight months later the bar association concluded that there was insufficient evidence against Kasem and the investigation was dropped. AD also had to correct its reporting of the allegations after Kasem brought a defamation suit.

Thank you for donating to

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