Schiphol seeks millions from construction firms

5th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

5 July 2005, AMSTERDAM — Schiphol is pursuing eight construction companies to repay millions they defrauded by illegal price-fixing during major infrastructural projects at Amsterdam's airport.

5 July 2005

AMSTERDAM — Schiphol is pursuing eight construction companies to repay millions they defrauded by illegal price-fixing during major infrastructural projects at Amsterdam's airport.

Schiphol boss Gerlach Cerfontaine has already had a meeting with one of companies, a spokesperson for the airport confirmed. Discussions with the rest of the group, dubbed the 'Schiphol Acht' (Schiphol Eight), will follow.

The group represents the A-list of Dutch construction firms: Ballast Nedam, KWS, Heijmans, Ooms, HBG, Koop Tjuchem, HBM and Dura Vermeer.

Competition watchdog NMa has already imposed fines totalling EUR 100 million on the eight for forming illegal cartels to bid for major projects.

Schiphol's management believes there is a good chance to recoup millions of euros. "We have paid too much for the projects for years', the spokesperson said. 

A NMa investigation found the illegal deals took place from the start of 1998 to the end of 2000 and related to 15 major projects in the airport and in the surrounding Haarlemmermeer district.

Some of the works were also funded by the Department of Waterways and Public Works, Noord-Holland province and Haarlemmermeer's local authority.

The government has already agreed a settlement with the builders under which court cases were abandoned on the payment of EUR 73.5 million in damages by the construction sector organisation Bouwend Nederland.

Schiphol was not covered by this agreement and is now mounting its own damages claims. 

A court in Rotterdam imposed maximum fines of EUR 100,000 at the beginning of July on Heijmans, KWS, BAM and Koop Tjuchem) in relation to the building fraud scandal. Twelve ex-directors of the companies were also ordered to pay fines and two officials of Koop Tjuchem were ordered to complete 180 hours of community service.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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