Shady business deal puts ruling Netherlands party chair under spotlight

Henry Keizer
Henry Keizer. Photo: Facultatieve Media / Wikimedia Commons

VVD chairman Henry Keizer is under fire for a seemingly shady business deal dating from 2012. According to research journalists Follow the Money, Keizer and his business partners bought funeral home De Facultatieve for far below market price. And at the time of the sale, Keizer was not only the buyer, but also the advisor and chairman of the funeral home he eventually bought. Keizer insists he acted with integrity and that "nobody was favored and disadvantaged" in the deal, he said to the press on Friday, NU.nl reports.

According to Follow the Money, Keizer advised De Facultatieve on the sale of the business to the buyer, which was he himself. According to Keizer, he withdrew from his role as advisor during the decision making process.

It should be noted that Follow the Money was not welcome at the press conference Keizer arranged for Friday. 

The VVD is increasingly uncomfortable about this integrity issue - the latest in a long line over the past years, according to NU. On Wednesday, after the Council of Ministers meeting, the VVD ministers did not want to respond to the accusations against Keizer. They are waiting for an explanation from Keizer before saying anything on the matter.

On Twitter Former VVD parliamentarian Ton Elias called on Keizer to step down while awaiting the findings of the Integrity Committee - which was established following numerous integrity scandals in the VVD. So far the Committee hasn't launched an investigation into Keizer's business deal. 

The VVD is choosing a new chairman on May 20th. Keizer said he wanted to keep the position and believes he has support from the VVD leaders. 

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