Dutch bribes investigation ruled out

6th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dutch prosecutors do not have the legal authority to investigate the role of defence company RDM in the Chilean bribery scandal.

The Netherlands – The Netherlands does not have the legal authority to instigate an investigation into the role of the defence company RDM in the Chilean bribery scandal.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to Radio Netherlands Worldwide that there are no grounds for prosecution in the Netherlands because, at the time when the alleged bribery took place in 1998, there was no Dutch law against offering bribes to officials overseas.

Legislation to make such practices illegal was introduced only in 2001.

Earlier this week, Chile announced it was charging two former army generals for accepting bribes in connection with the purchase of more than 200 Leopard tanks. The Chilean government bought the tanks for USD 63 million from the Dutch company RDM but nearly USD 600,000 went missing.

Former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve and Socialist Party MP Krista van Velzen have called for an investigation but the Public Prosecutor’s Office has now ruled this out.

Gerben Smid, a lecturer in criminal law at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that there have not been any successful prosecutions under the new Dutch anti-corruption legislation introduced in 2001.

This was confirmed by Public Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Marieke van der Molen, who said it is often difficult to secure evidence in foreign countries in such cases. While dozens of cases have been considered, none have come to court.

The Chilean justice ministry confirmed to Radio Netherlands Worldwide that there is certainly sufficient evidence of corruption concerning the RDM arms deal.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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