Ruling party admits mistakes made in drug dealer payoff

Ard van der Steur (Photo: Commons)Ard van der Steur (Photo: Commons)

"The Cabinet accepts the conclusion of the investigative committee." The deal then-prosecutor Fred Teeven made with drug criminal Cees H. in 2000 can not pass muster, Minister Ard van der Steur confirms in his answers on 250 parliamentary questions about the deal, the Volkskrant reports.

Van der Steur is thereby contradicting the statements Prime Minister Mar Rutte made at his weekly press conference on Friday. The Prime Minister implicated that the deal was good by saying that the Oosting committee's report did not include the information Teeven got from H. in return for the money he got back. "Did Oosting note what he got in return? I do not know. In order to draw the necessary conclusions, you should know the return", Rutte said.

One of the issues Van der Steur addresses in his answers, is the status of a report on a discussion between Fred Teeven and official Gerard Roes in 2014, according to the newspaper. Former Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten launched an investigation into the receipt showing the amounts involved in the deal and in the investigation Roes was sent to find out the amounts from Teeven. Teeven stated that the base amount was approximately 2 million guilders, and with accumulated interest amounted to 4.8 million guilders.

Rutte received the report of this conversation from Justice officials during the Tweede Kamer debate that followed Teeven and Opstelten's resignations. He told the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, that he could not share what was in the report because it was a "personal note". Van der Steur agrees with the Oosting-committee that the Prime Minister was in fact allowed to share the report "if there had been sufficient time to make that assessment", he writes, adding that there was no time during the debate.

The Minister twice missed the deadline to send his answers to the Kamer. He finally sent his answers 45 minutes after the second deadline, which was 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. This annoyed most of the opposition parties. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold shared his feelings on Twitter. "How badly do you want to provoke the Kamer?" he tweeted. The opposition asked that the debate with Van der Steur and Rutte be moved to Thursday, instead of Wednesday morning, given the delay in receiving the answers to their questions. The VVD and PvdA opposed, but the debate was eventually moved by a few hours to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

Former Chief Prosecutor Hans Vrakking, who was responsible for approving the so-called Teeven-deal, is extremely critical about how the Oosting-committee handled the investigation. He called the committee biased in an interview with the Telegraaf on Wednesday. He had a bad feeling about it as soon as the committee questioned him. "The questions were very suggestive. It looked as if the committee already had its verdict. I was a judge for 30 years and so very well know about asking unbiased questions", Vrakking said to the newspaper.