Biographer doubts Bernhard's 'confession'

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Prince Bernhard suffered problems with his memory around the time he was implicated in a bribery scandal involving US aircraft maker Lockheed in the 1970s, and would therefore never have admitted accepting USD 1.1 million in slush money, it was claimed on Monday.

6 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Prince Bernhard suffered problems with his memory around the time he was implicated in a bribery scandal involving US aircraft maker Lockheed in the 1970s, and would therefore never have admitted accepting USD 1.1 million in slush money, it was claimed on Monday.

Publicist Harry van Wijnen — who interviewed Bernhard at length in the 1970s for his 1992 biography — said the prince underwent memory tests in London and was found to be suffering problems due to his extremely busy lifestyle.

Van Wijnen said Bernhard was surprised to be confronted by so many issues  during the Lockheed investigation that he could not remember. The German-born prince then decided he would later appeal to his memory problems as a defence.

The publicist said he was "extremely distrustful" of any claims that Bernhard had confessed to taking bribes from Lockheed to influence the Dutch government's decision over its next fighter jet.

Van Wijnen was referring to an alleged confession Bernhard made during a series of interviews with the former chief editor of magazine De Groene Amsterdammer, Martin van Amerongen, from 1995 to 2002.

He said any talk of Bernhard explicitly confessing to taking bribes was in itself new, but he pointed out there was not one single document containing such a confession, RTL News reported.

An investigation in the US into alleged bribes paid by Lockheed to influence foreign governments to buy one of its fighters indicated that a highly-placed person in the Netherlands had been paid USD 1.1 million. Suspicion immediately focused on Bernhard.

This caused consternation in the Netherlands and the subsequent scandal and commission of inquiry almost led to Queen Juliana abdicating.

Eventually, a compromise report was published which severely criticised Bernhard's manner of doing business. But it said there was no hard evidence that he had received the money.

When questioned by the media about the scandal at the time, Bernhard said he did not have to answer any questions.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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