Police corruption revealed in investigation into encrypted criminal messages
Investigation into encrypted communications between criminals, which the police got access to by breaking into the EncroChat systems, also revealed corruption within the police, the police confirmed after reports in De Telegraaf. This involves things like cops leaking police information to criminals, police chief Henk van Essen said in a statement on the police site.
According to the police, the extent of this corruption is not yet known, partly because much of the total 23 million messages the police gained access to still need to be analyzed. "But the first signals are serious enough for us to set up a special team," Van Essen said. This team will focus on investigating these signals of corruption, supported by the Rijksrecherche - the department responsible for internal investigations at government services like the police.
While Van Essen could not say how many cases are being investigated at this stage, sources told the Telegraaf that about 10 information leaks have been identified.
According to the police chief, the EncroChat investigation again showed that corruption is "unmistakeably present" and that everyone is vulnerable. "It seems that corruption is growing rather than decreasing. I am not necessarily shocked, but I do find the signals serious and worrisome," he said.
Van Essen also said that the EncroChat messages showed that criminals are not only targeting the police to corrupt them. "Criminals look for strategic points, such as information hubs. Information is valuable to them. Police officers are located at such a hub and are therefore attractive 'targets'. But we see that criminals are also looking for such places outside the government, for example at companies. Corruption occurs in the full width of society. This shows the undermining nature of organized crime.
The police announced in July that they gained access to the EncroChat servers and were able to accesses millions of messages sent through the encrypted service. According to the police, these messages were connected to an "unprecedented number of serious crimes".
So far the EncroChat investigation led to the arrest of more than a hundred suspects in the Netherlands. An underworld torture chamber was discovered through these messages. And the police seized a total of 8 thousand kilograms of cocaine, 1,200 kilograms of crystal meth, dozen of weapons, and nearly 20 million euros in cash