Previous doubts about security cop's integrity; Govt. reiterates that Wilders is safe

Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017
Geert Wilders surrounded by bodyguards, Spijkenesse Feb 2017Photo: Peter van der Sluijs / Wikimedia Commons

Faris K., the police officer in the Safety and Security Service suspected of leaking information to a criminal gang, was previously also suspected of integrity violations, newspaper AD reports. Faris K. was investigated for leaking police information while he worked at the Utrecht police, colleagues of the suspected cop told the newspaper. The outcome of that investigation is unclear.

The Safety and Security Service is responsible for protecting members of the Royal Family and threatened politicians, including PVV leader Geert Wilders. On Thursday Wilders announced that he will not be doing any public events for the PVV campaign in the run up to the parliamentary elections, because he believes his safety can not be guaranteed.

On Thursday evening, after meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Stef Blok of Security and Justice stated that he regrets Wilders' decision, but reiterated that it is safe for him to do his work in the Netherlands.

According to the AD's sources, Faris K.'s brother, Mo K. was fired from the Utrecht police also for leaking confidential information. He gave out license plate information in exchange for money and was suspended for that in September 2007. That same year he was also caught sharing information from a murder investigation, including things like where the murder weapon was being sought and how the victim was killed.

Wilders called these revelations tremendously disturbing. He told the Telegraaf that he does not trust the government's soothing words about his safety. "Safe? They said that to Pim Fortuyn too", he said referring to a murdered populist politician. He is determined to not appear at public events until everything is clear about what information was leaked and to whom. 

The PVV leader stressed that this is about more than his own safety. It's also about the safety of "a hundred to two hundred enthusiastic PVV supporters from the country" who come to public meetings, he said according to NOS. "I'd rather be safe than sorry." He added that he will only be avoiding activities on the street. He will still be participating in the televised debates he already agreed to.

Blok said that he regrets the PVV leader's decision, but he understands that Wilders has been living under difficult conditions for a long time. He remains convinced that it is safe for Wilders to do his job. The National Coordinator of Counterterrorism and Security also guarantees the safety of Wilders and other politicians in the country. Blok said that he is keeping contact with Wilders and keeps him informed about any new facts about the case. He added that Wilders makes his own decisions and that he respects that. "But in the Netherlands it is safe enough for Mr. Wilders and other politicians to campaign."

Faris K. is not one of Wilders own bodyguards, as initially reported. But he did work on the Wilders team. His duties included checking places the politician was set to visit. 

It is believed that K. leaked information to a Moroccan-Dutch gang. Last year Wilders was convicted of hate speech against Moroccans, when during his previous election campaign he incited a group of people in The Hague to chant that they want fewer Moroccans in the country. He's also been known to talk about "Moroccan scum". 

It is not yet clear what information was leaked. But Faris K. did have information about where the Wilders was going to appear, as he had to scout the addresses, according to AD. He also ha access to databases containing highly confidential information. 

Faris K. was arrested on Monday. He was arraigned on Thursday and released from custody. But he remains a suspect in this case.