Wilders failed to disclose €175,000 donation to pay for hate speech trial
PVV leader Geert Wilders received a donation of over 175 thousand euros in 2017, which he used to cover his legal fees in the hate speech trial against him. He did not report this large donation in parliament's gift register, while parliamentarians are obliged to report all gifts and donations above 50 euros they receive, investigative platform Follow the Money (FTM) reported on Friday.
The donation came from the International Freedom Alliance Foundation (IFAF), an United States-based foundation founded by Wilders himself. The foundation's tax returns included a declaration for reimbursement of legal costs for "an individual in his struggle for freedom of expression".
While the trial against Wilders, in which he was charged with hate speech for saying he wants "fewer Moroccans" in the Netherlands during a political campaign, is not specifically mentioned, FTM considers it obvious that the donation was for the Wilders trial.
Wilders confirmed to FTM that he received "tons" of donations from the Netherlands and abroad to cover his attorney's fees in the hate speech trial, but would not answer the question of why he did not report those donations in the Tweede Kamer gift registry.
IFAF's sole director, American philanthropist Robert Shillman, declined to answer FTM's questions. As did Geert-Jan Knoops, the lawyer that represented Wilders in the hate speech trial.
In September, the appeals court in The Hague found Wilders guilty of group insult, but acquitted him of incitement to hatred and discrimination. The court imposed no punishment.