Saturday 13 August 2022

Staffing agency Randstad joins legal fight over ‘charity’ face masks initiative

Sywert van Lienden in a still from a Hulptroepen.nl YouTube promo

Staffing agency Randstad is taking legal action against three men who earned millions of euros from a controversial deal to sell face masks to the government, while claiming they represented a charitable organisation.

The company provided 15 workers free of charge to work for the foundation Stichting Hulptroepen Alliantie, set up by television pundit and civil servant Sywert van Lienden and his business partners Bernd Damme and Camille van Gestel.

However, it later transpired that the trio had set up a private company after winning a €100m government order, and that the face masks were bought and sold under its auspices, netting Van Lienden €9m and the others €5m each.

Randstad’s legal affairs chief Patrick van der Herberg told website Follow The Money that the company had been told the initiative was non-profit, and said he was shocked to discover millions of euros had been made by the founders.

‘What happened is not right,’ he said. ‘Then you have to take action.’

Volunteers

In October, lawyer Peter Plasman said 12 people who worked for the foundation as volunteers were planning to take legal action against the foundation. Comedian Youp van ‘t Hek even pledged to hold a benefit show to raise money.

Van Lienden has refused to return the money to the state, and says he wants to donate the money to a cancer research charity.

Meanwhile, the 40 million face masks which Van Lienden imported remain in a warehouse because they are both surplus to requirements and there are concerns about their safety.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl

The DutchNews.nl team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments.

DutchNews.nl has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.