Sunday 15 September 2019

Former minister’s multi-million deal with drug dealer under fire

fred teevenA deal struck between a former senior justice ministry official and a drugs lord which enabled him to launder millions of euros and avoid jail has been slammed in an official report on the payment.

A special committee under the leadership of former ombudsman Marten Oosting was set up earlier this year to look into the case, which led to the resignation of two ministers following a string of media revelations.

Former justice minister Fred Teeven struck the deal with Cees H while he was Amsterdam’s chief public prosecutor in 2000.

The deal, which was kept secret from the tax authorities, hit the headlines in March 2014 when Teeven first claimed he could not remember a payment of almost five million guilders made to H. He later said the payment was around two million guilders and had been fully authorised.

It took research by the Telegraph newspaper and television current affairs show Nieuwsuur to uncover the real size of the payment – 4.7 million guilders – which the justice ministry made back to H in return for a 750,000 guilder fine.

Teeven, and his boss, justice minister Ivo Opstelten, resigned in March this year. Opstelten had told parliament that no receipts for the payment could be found. That was also incorrect.

The committee looking into the payments said in its finding that parliament had been misled by the ministers and the justice ministry.  Teeven had been wrong not to inform the tax authorities about the deal and to agree that H did not have to serve a jail term for attempting to escape from prison.

The entire package shows serious shortcomings, the committee said.

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