Party leader defensive over free beach home apartment from Canadian diplomat

D66 leader Alexander Pechtold responded defensively to a commotion that arose around a beach home apartment in Scheveningen, The Hague that he received as a gift from a former Canadian diplomat. According to Pechtold, the apartment, worth 135 thousand euros, was a private gift from an old family friend and therefore does not have to be registered with the Tweede Kamer gift register, RTL Nieuws reports.

On Monday GeenStijl reported on this gift former diplomat Serge Marcoux gave to Pechtold based on the property's deed. According to the site, Pechtold received this gift from the Canadian at a time that he had to vote on CETA - a trade agreement with Canada. A majority in the Tweede Kamer eventually voted for this agreement. The property's deed clearly states that the apartment was donated to Pechtold by Marcoux. But the gift is not listed on the Tweede Kamer gift register, where all gifts parliamentarians receive must be listed for transparency. 

This revelation caused quite the commotion on social media. Especially the fact that the apartment was not listed on the Tweede Kamer gift register, infuriated many people.

But according to Pechtold, this type of gift does not have to be reported to the gift register. "Just like Sinterklaas gifts do not have to be written up", he said to political commentator Frits Wester, according to RTL. He compared it to inheritance from your grandmother, adding that Marcoux is an old family friend that he's known for some 30 years.

Wester does not think that Pechtold will get into trouble over this. "If what Pechtold says is true, then there is nothing going on", he said, according to he broadcaster. 

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