State's drug dealer payoff a poorly-handled bad idea, leaders dragged into mix
The deal Fred Teeven, a prosecutor at the time, made with drug criminal Cees H. in 2000 had serious shortcomings, according to the Oosting Commission's report on their investigation into the deal. The report contains scathing criticisms aimed at Teeven, former Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten and parliament president Annouchka van Miltenburg, the Telegraaf reports. Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, President Van Miltenburg had a peculiar role in this whole mess. She received a letter from a whistle-blower who wanted to discuss the deal, but then destroyed it. When the letter ended up in the hands of a journalist and she was questioned about it, she sent a message to her employees saying that it is a "storm in a teacup". According to the Commission, the deal can not stand up to criticism - "not on the content and not in the terms of realization and settlement". The deal Teeven made involved a 750 thousand guilder fine H. had to pay. In return he got to keep the rest of his money and got a reduced sentenced. This was despite the fact that the Security and Justice Minister and the head of the prosecutor clearly stated that no reduced sentence should be added to the deal, according to the newspaper. Then the head of the prosecutor, the Board of Procurators General, approved the deal, while knowing almost nothing of what it contained. They did not know that the deal included not informing the tax authorities or how much money H. actually had. H. turned out to have 21 million guilders when he was arrested in 1994. The Prosecutor froze only 4.7 million guilders and could never answer the question if the money was obtained through hashish trade. The Commission could find no evidence that the money was obtained legally. Teeven's fellow prosecutor Ben Swagerman, currently a VVD Senator, was responsible for informing the Board, but did so "incompletely" and the board itself did not bother to investigate. The Commission could also not establish whether H. actually supplied the information he got the deal for. It was established that H. spoke to Teeven in Vught, but what was said is unclear. The so-called Teeven deal made headlines again in 2014 and earlier this year. According to the report, the manner in which the Ministry of Security and Justice and the Prosecutor's Office responded to this news is "characterized by a lack of good management and insufficient awareness of the problem". If there had been better control, Opstelten may not have needed to resign. The Commission also criticized Opstelten for his refusal to perform an independent investigation into the matter "against official advice". The investigation was done by the Prosecutor and former Attorney General Henk van Brummen under time pressure and turned out to be "thoroughly inadequate", the commission wrote pointing to how easy the receipt was to find as evidence. The former minister was also criticized for repeatedly giving the Tweede Kamer wrong information about the amounts involved.