Drug baron payout lands Justice Min, Sec in hot water again

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State Secretary Fred Teeven and Minister Ivo Opstelten (Security and Justice) are in trouble in the Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) again over the deal Teeven made with drug criminal Cees H. in 2000.

Documents in the possession of Nieuwsuur shows that 4.7 million guilders was transferred to the criminal and not 1.25 million as Opstelten claimed repeatedly. Opstelten claimed that the receipt of the deal was untraceable. Opposition spokespersons told the Volkskrant that Opstelten now has a lot to explain. The ChristenUnie, D66, CDA and SP have requested a debate. The coalition parties PvdA and VVD have not responded yet. Last year several opposition parties suggested withdrawing confidence in Opstelten if the payment details were revealed.

In the year 2000 Teeven, then a public prosecutor, made a settlement with H., who was convicted of drug trafficking, after Justice's attempts to seize H.'s criminal money failed. Teeven struck a deal that the state would receive 750 thousand guilders of H.'s criminal assets, he could keep the rest. The tax authorities would also not be informed.

The exact amount that H. was allowed to keep caused a lot of discord and confusion last year. Opstelten claimed in the Tweede Kamer that the amount was 1.25 million guilders. H.'s former lawyer denied this, stating that the amount was nearly 5 million guilders. Under pressure of the Kamer Opstelten promised to look at the bank statement to prove that he was not lying about the amount. The search yielded nothing and Opstelten wrote tot he Kamer that the administration of that time is "untraceable" and that there are "no otherwise relevant documents".

Nieuwsuur's latest documents now show that an amount of 4,710,627.18 guilders was transferred to H. on September 10th, 2001 from an account of the parquet Amsterdam. According to the program, the information comes from the justice circles. The Ministry responded in writing last night. "Nieuwsuur's assertion that the Minister misinformed the Tweede Kamer about the settlement with Cees H. is incorrect. Officials within the Public Prosecution and the department have no knowledge of what was actually paid in the settlement." Opstelten's spokesperson was even more explicit. "An extensive investigation has been done into this. We have no document."