Ex-Roermond mayor sentenced for bribery

. ()

Former mayor, Ricardo Offermans, was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, earlier today by the Rotterdam court, for passive administrative bribery. Offermans was convicted in absentia.

Offermans, who was the mayor of Meerssen in 2012, and in the running for mayor of Roermond, received inside information about the election of the mayor for Roermond.

Jos van Rey, former VVD alderman and counselor of the selection committee, passed along confidential information to his fellow party member, ruled the judges.

During the trial it became clear that both Offermans and Van Rey knew they were breaking the law. 'They knew very well what they were doing was wrong,' said the prosecutor. They regularly switched phones, because 'you never know.' Van Rey could be heard on a tape recording of a tapped conversation, supplying Offermans with several of the questions the selection committee was going to present to him, including the favorable answers. After Offermans' election, in another phone conversation Van Rey said: 'I will call you on the other line tomorrow, just act as if it's the first time we speak.'

Offermans still insists he did nothing wrong. In consultation with his lawyer he is considering appealing the court's decision.

The former mayor's case only came to light because Jos van Rey was suspected of administrative corruption and laundering. During the investigation in summer 2012 the national investigation department tapped his phone lines and just happened to pick up on the dealings with Offermans.