Justice Min. says he didn't withhold information from MPs over drug dealer payout

Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD/Matthijs Idema)Ard van der Steur (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/VVD/Matthijs Idema)

Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice denies that he withheld information about a deal made in 2001 between then prosecutor Fred Teeven and drug criminal Cees H. "I told parliament exactly what I knew", Van der Steur said to BNR.

On Monday journalist Bas Haan revealed an email that shows that Van der Steur knew more than he was telling parliament, first while he was a parliamentarian himself and then later as Minister of Security and Justice. According to the journalist, Van der Steur helped then Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten answer 99 parliamentary questions on the so-called Teeven deal and that important information was removed from the answers at Van der Steur's insistence. This included the amounts involved in the deal. During later debates on the topic, Van der Steur mentioned none of this information.

Van der Steur insists that he did not lie or withhold information from the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament. "I told the Kamer exactly what I knew. Namely that on 9 March [2015] I knew what Mr Teeven remembered in his capacity as prosecutor. And that I myself deiced that I should have left earlier than that time. And before that I also should have stopped my advisory role for the Minister [Ivo Opstelten]. But all that was shared in the debate on 16 December [2015]", Van der Steur said to BNR. 

According to RTV Rijnmond, Bas Haan is the same journalist that found the receipt showing the amounts involved in the Teeven deal - the receipt both former Minister Ivo Opstelten and former State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice said was untraceable. Opstelten and Teeven both resigned because of this Teeven deal. 

Haan describes the Teeven deal, which his new book De rekening voor Rutte, is about as "politics at its ugliest", he said to the Volkskrant. "Politicians that deny facts, make them secondary to imaging. Missteps are constantly denied, trivialized, concealed, condoned. Then you leave the door wide open for gut feelings. It is not for nothing that the words of Rutte are being doubted. He provides a podium for all those who do not have much liking for the truth and got their position through ear, anger and other emotions. That is the political price for lies."