Friday, January 30, 2015 - 10:04
Fugitive real estate tycoon arrested in Dubai
The police in Dubai have arrested real estate tycoon Roger Lips. Lips has been a fugitive for 13 months. The controversial businessman, who was partly responsible for the near-collapse of the SNS bank, is suspected by the judiciary in the Netherlands of money laundering and large-scale bankruptcy fraud. Lips has been on the run from justice since mid-December 2013. The court in Den Bosch wants him in custody because according to the judges, he did not cooperate in the settlement of his personal bankruptcy. Among other things, the Uden real estate tycoon is blamed for the debacle surrounding The Wall, the prestigious but completely failed mall next to the A2 highway near Utrecht. According to bankruptcy administrators, both banks and numerous smaller entrepreneurs were victimized by Lips. He allegedly made more than 200 million euros disappear. The Public Prosecutor along with the Fiod in Zwolle also started a criminal investigation against Lips last year. Roger Lips probably thought that he was safe in Dubai because the Netherlands does not have an exchange treaty with the country. Lips arrest happened after De Telegraaf reporter John van den Heuvel, along with a team of the television program Op de Vlucht, revealed his exact whereabouts last month. After his arrest and interrogation, Lips was set free with the restriction that he must remain available to local authorities. His passport was confiscated and he can not leave Dubai. The Netherlands will ask Dubai to extradite Lips. In the absence of a treaty, the court in Dubai will have to examine the extradition request. This process could take several months, but according to De Telegraaf, may happen quicker because Dubai wants to get rid of the image of being a haven for fraudsters and other white collar criminals. Lips has been engaged in a fierce battle with justice and bankruptcy administrators for some time. According to Lips, he is a victim of the banking crisis and bankers are trying to pin losses on him. The Public Prosecutor's bankruptcy administrators suspect foul play on Lips side and believe that he spirited away tens of millions of euros via preconceived structures when he became aware that his empire was collapsing.