Amount in Teeven deal questioned

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Minister of Justice, Ivo Opstelten, has been criticized for not informing Parliament about the whitewashing scandal involving Fred Teeven closing a deal in 2000 with drugs baron Cees H. H.'s former lawyer, Piet Doedens, has told the Volkskrant in an interview that the Public Prosecution Authority (OM), transferred almost 5 million guilders on the 5th of September, 2001, to his lawyer's office. The money then made its way to the drugs baron. The amount Doedens gives is four times higher than the 1.25 million guilders Opstelten gave to the House of Parliament.

Teeven's handling of the issue was defended by Opstelten in Parliament during a debate that was sparked by years of questions about the unsavory deal. At the time, Teeven was a public prosecutor, and Cees H. was one of the leaders in the notorious Octopus Network, which was also guilty of shipping tons of hash from Pakistan. Teeven initiated the arrangement negotiations for the money when an attempt by the Department of Justice to seize H.'s criminal money did not work. As a result, the State received 750,000 guilders, while the 'surplus' went to Cees H. Now, the exact figure of that 'surplus' is in confusion. Opstelten is stating 1.25 million guilders, but Doedens as well as H.'s current lawyer, Jan-Hein Kuijpers are claiming a much higher number. Because H.'s money was lying in a Luxembourg bank account for so many years, his assets have grown to around 6 million guilders. According to the lawyers, this is because of the rise in stock exchange indices, and interest on interest at tariffs of 10 to 12 percent. The lawyers say that this rise in worth went over Teeven's head. Some opposition parties are now considering abandoning their trust in Opstelten, unless his story proves to be true. Opstelten and H.'s lawyers are refusing to produce bank copies, however, as they have not received their client's approval for this. Opstelten is claiming state secrecy. Magda Berndsen, MP for D66, is going to ask Opstelten, if need be confidentially, to prove that 'only' 1.25 million guilders was transferred to H. According to Doedens, it is not only money at play. H. got back a large portion of his assets as well as several buildings, a yacht, expensive cars and jewels as well from the OM. He was also released several weeks early. Doedens is also accusing Opstelten of not correctly circumstantiating the details of the whitewashing. H.'s money was on four Luxembourg bank accounts, which the OM had frozen. Opstelten said that the Luxembourg authorities stipulated that the money was transferred to the Dutch OM. Doedens said this is false. "We had negotiated that the money would be transferred via the OM to us. In that way it was white." Rob Zilver, the fiscal lawyer who encountered similar cases with Justice at the time, is saying that it is highly irregular that Luxembourg authorities would concern themselves with the operation of a seizure. Zilver is also questioning the way in which the claim on Cees H.'s assets was lifted. At the time, the law in Luxembourg stated that criminally-attained assets would fall automatically to the state. "The OM, as reason for the arrangement, gave me the reason that it wanted to prevent the money falling to the Luxembourg state. The OM said that it needed to be creative in the legal advice request to the Luxembourg authorities to grant replevin. I suspect that something like this also happened in the case of Cees H."

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