Wednesday, 12 March 2014 - 08:01
Teeven named in money laundering scheme
In 2000, state secretary for Justice Fred Teeven signed a deal in which more than five million guilders from drugs criminal Cees H. was whitewashed. Back then, Teeven was a public prosecutor, Nieuwsuur reports. The dirty money was hidden in Luxembourg. Cees H. had to pay 750,000 guilders to the State in a deprivation arrangement, but the rest of the money was whitewashed. This means that the Department of Justice returned millions of guilders back to the drugs criminal. The Tax Administration was not informed of this, which was part of the arrangement. The minister as well as the council of attorney generals were not informed of this. A "total confidentiality" was agreed. It is unclear what the State planned to gain from swapping 750,000 guilders for whitewashing five million. Teeven did not ask permission from heads of the Public Prosecution (OM) for the deal, which he closed together with then-deputy head prosecutor Ben Swagerman. The council of attorney generals, which determines detection and prosecution policy, was not informed about the passing over of the Tax Administration. Dato Steenhuis, the attorney general who was at the time responsible for making deprivation agreements with criminals, says that he never would have agreed to the deal. In Nieuwsuur, he calls it "morally contemptible" to arrange this outside the the Tax Administration. Only after two months, when the deed was done and the facts set in stone, Teeven and Swagerman confronted the current head of the Council of attorney generals with the case. These then proceeded to place their signatures under the already closed arrangement. The remaining attorney generals were, just like the minister and the Tax Administration, not informed. Cees H.'s lawyer, Jan-Hein Kuijpers told Nieuwsuur that all agreements made in the deal have been complied with. The money came to the Netherlands via an account from Justice. After that, it went to a friend of H. The lawyer wanted the money to flow through a justice account and not via his own office account, so that he couldn't be accused of whitewashing himself. According to tax rights experts, what happened is against all rules of the law. "There is always consultation between the OM and the tax if it is about the deprivation of advantage", emeritus professor Jaap Zwemmer says. Minister Opstelten said in a reaction to Nieuwsuur that the deprivation agreement was the law at the time. The eventual agreement was laid in front of attorney generals, the minister said. According to the experts, the directive is clear that there must be agreements with the Tax Administration.