Celeb behind dubious face mask deal apologizes for profiting €9 million
The revenue lobbyist and political activist, Sywert van Lienden, made selling face masks to the Ministry of Health will go towards a social cause. Van Lienden had allegedly claimed the company he and two partners owned was non-profit, according to a report by Follow the Money. He spoke about the commercial side of the deal on the TV show Buitenhof.
Van Lienden personally earned nine million euros from the deal. He emphasized that the deal was completely legal, yet he can empathize with healthcare workers who “find it incomprehensible that such amounts were made”.
In total, Van Lienden and his partners made a gross amount of 28 million euros selling face masks at an above-average price to the Ministry of Health during the first wave of the coronavirus in 2020. At the time, the government was in desperate need of protective, medical equipment.
“The mess was caused by mixing a non-profit foundation with a private limited company”, Van Lienden said. According to him, he had indeed processed “tens of thousands of orders for healthcare institutions on a non-profit basis”. The private limited company was set up to facilitate the government deal.
Van Lieden said it was “inexplicable” that the image of the non-profit organization and the BV got mixed up. “I should have shouted from the rooftops there was private limited company involved with a profit intention. That’s my fault. If I had known this, I would never have done it”, Van Lienden said during the interview.
The lobbyist claimed there is currently only between 200 thousand to 300 thousand euros left in the BV which is “still used for lawyers among other things”.
The lobbyist said he is unsure towards which cause the remaining money will go. He said he was considering cancer research, particularly among young and underprivileged people