Former Dutch railway bos Timo Huges has been found not guilty of committing fraud during the tender process for public transport services in Limburg. Several other defendants were also found not guilty at the hearing in Den Bosch on Thursday.
The public prosecution department had said Huges should be jailed for one year for his ‘very serious failings’ during the Limburg regional transport tender process.
State-owned railway company NS had faced a fine of €3m for industrial espionage during the competition to provide regional rail services in Limburg in 2014 but was also cleared of all charges.
The Limburg contract was originally awarded to Abellio – a subsidiary of the NS. However, in late April 2015 evidence emerged of ‘serious irregularities’ in the contract process. In particular, NS officials are said to have passed on confidential information about Veolia – a competitor for the lucrative €2bn contract – to its Abellio and Qbuzz subsidiaries.
Qbuzz has since been sold to BusItalia while Abellio now concentrates on railway concessions outside the Netherlands. After the scandal broke, Limburg awarded the 15-year licence for bus and regional train services to Arriva, a British company now owned by German railway group Deutsche Bahn.