Massive building fraud trial starts
28 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — Court proceedings over the Dutch building fraud scandal started in Rotterdam Court on Monday with defence lawyers immediately demanding an adjournment.
28 February 2005
AMSTERDAM — Court proceedings over the Dutch building fraud scandal started in Rotterdam Court on Monday with defence lawyers immediately demanding an adjournment.
The lawyers claimed that the public prosecutor had compiled evidence in a careless manner and they demanded the case be adjourned until at least October. They claim the defence's case has been affected by the prosecutor's approach to the case.
The demand comes some three years after investigations were launched into claims of price fixing and illegal cartels in the Dutch construction sector.
A small army of lawyers are defending building firms Heijmans, KWS, BAM NBM and Koop Tjuchem from corruption allegations.
Twelve company directors were also placed on trial on Monday, as were two Koop Tjuchem employees who are accused of bribery and money laundering.
The case is based on shadow account keeping revelations that the former director of Koop Tjuchem, Ad Bos, brought forward in 2001. Bos was recently found guilty of bribery, but escaped a jail term due to his role in bringing the case to light.
Dutch construction companies defrauded the government of millions of euros by illegally entering into price agreements on large-scale infrastructure projects. The profits from the inflated prices were recorded on so-called shadow accounts.
Defence lawyers are expected to claim that the building companies have too often been described in the past as fraudulent and have therefore already been 'convicted' in the eyes of the public.
Lawyers will also claim that the companies involved have already been sentenced by the parliamentary inquiry in 2002 and the millions of euros in fines imposed by anti-cartel watchdog NMa
The court has scheduled three days every week in March, April and May for the trial and a ruling is expected on 2 July.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news