MP in hot water for fraud, could lose house
Disgraced, dismissed, and discredited, 50Plus parliamentarian and Friends of Gay Krant Founder Henk Krol has again come under fire after it emerged on Monday that he artificially inflated circulation figures of his magazine Gay Krant, which was placed into bankruptcy in March 2013. According to Gay Krant shareholder Marc Putman, Krol continually told advertisers that the Gay Krant had a circulation of around 60,000 subscribers.
"That did not happen," said Putman. "An initial investigation showed the magazine had 30,000 subscribers, but later it turned out to be 4,000”.
According to journalist union NVJ it not unusual for circulation figures to be rounded up, but not such extreme levels.
The PM is also in hot water after it emerged in August that he misused state funding to pay for his ailing businesses. Krol was ordered to reimburse the state with more than 200,000 euros received by the Friends of the Gay Paper Foundation (SVGK) as funding for a digital platform for underage homosexuals. Reportedly, Krol used to funds to save his then ailing media enterprise Gay Krant and pay outstanding accounts of his other companies, including sex shop GayTel.
Krol is refusing to pay back the subsidy out of his own pocket, saying that the foundation first has to prove that he had a hand in the “improper management” of the subsidy. The SVGK says that do not have the necessary funds, and is requesting that Krol personally pay back the funds.
The SVGK announced on Monday that they intend to make attempts to seize funds from the sale of Krol’s nine-room home in Eindhoven which is currently on the market. The home which is expected to sell for 860,000 euros boasts a number of luxury prizes including a garage, two kitchens, a jacuzzi, a hairdresser, an “authentic wooden bar”, and three bathrooms. The bathroom is fitted with a massage stand, a six-person sauna and Turkish bath, reads the description of an agency website.
VVD Lower House leader Halbe Zijlstra has called for Krol to step down saying that he is placing politicians in a bad light.
Krol is no stranger to controversy after he was forced to resign from his position as leader of 50Plus in October 213, after it came to light that he evaded paying pension premiums for his staff at Gay Krant. Between 2004 and 2007, and in 2009, Krol did not pay his employees retirement contribution, and withheld money that his employees put in themselves, according to De Volkskrant. Staff were not informed until mid-2007 of the status of their pensions, after which they were required to sign a statement abandoning their pension of a period of four years.
In defence, Krol says that he was not aware of the non-payments of pension contribution because his secretary withheld the information from him, a defence which was subsequently challenged by a number of employees who said that Krol always opened his mail himself. Instead they say that Krol pressured them into signing a statement abandoning their pensions with fear of job loss.
The MP yesterday refused to comment on questions about the impending seizure and denies accusations of falsification, maintaining that there were thirty-thousand subscribers right up until the end. From the corridors of parliament on Tuesday Krol said that despite all the commotion, he is not about to throw in the towel.
According to Krol the membership of 50Plus is operating at breakneck speed. “In addition to the 150 new 50PLUS members who came in the last 10 days, we have more than 100 new members,” Krol tweeted on Friday.