Fmr. ABN Amro leader arrested over Russia bribes claim

Peter Wakkie
Profile of Peter Wakkie as Chairman of the Supervisory Board at TomTom in TomTom

Dutch lawyer and former ABN Amro Commissioner Peter Wakkie was arrested in Spain, the local police confirmed to NOS. The arrest has to do with accusations against his business partner about paying bribes to members of the Russian government through the two's company Zed+, according to the broadcaster.

Wakkie is director of Russian-Spanish telecommunications company Zed+. The co-owner of the company is Russian billionaire Michail Fridman. According to news site El Confidencial, Fridman is suspected of bribing members of the Russian company through Zed+ and Wakkie is suspected of interfering with the investigation into those accusations. 

A spokesperson for Wakkie told NOS that he does not know whether Wakkie is suspected of a crime or was just taken in for questioning. He was arrested at an airport in Madrid on Monday, when he arrived on a plane from the Netherlands. 

Wakkie is a well known Dutch lawyer and, the current supervisory board chairman at TomTom, and a former director of Ahold. He was also a commissioner of ABN Amro, but resigned in 2015 after controversy about the bank's remuneration policies. In 2015 he and former Rabobank director Sipko Schat were named interim directors of Zed+ when the company was in danger of being torn apart by quarrels between its Spanish and Russian owners. The matter was handled in Dutch courts because Zed+ was established in the Netherlands due to tax reasons, according to the broadcaster. 

Michail Fridman's name also appears in reports by American intelligence agencies FBI and CIA on the links between Donald Trump and the Kremlin, according to NOS. Those documents indicate that Fridman has close ties to Russian president Vladimir Putin, dating from when Putin was mayor of St Petersburg.