Expatica news

Building fraud informer faces suspended term

28 January 2005

AMSTERDAM — The public prosecutor demanded in Rotterdam Court on Friday that the man who blew the whistle on the massive Dutch building fraud scandal be given a five-month suspended jail term with a two-year probation period.

The prosecutor claims Ad Bos is guilty of bribing a public servant at the Department of Public Works and Waterways. The former director of building firm Koop Tjuchem revealed widespread fraud in the construction industry by handing over to Dutch authorities so-called “shadow accounts” in 2001.

Demanding the suspended term, the prosecutor said he had taken into account the fact that Bos had tipped justice authorities off. The shadow accounts helped investigators crack down on illegal cartels and price agreements in the industry.

“Bos enjoyed no benefit, but rather suffered disadvantages due to his co-operation,” the prosecutor said. “Nevertheless, he co-operated with the criminal investigation.”

Bos denied an earlier statement in which he allegedly admitted giving money to a department public servant, who was only identified as J. J. due to Dutch privacy regulations. He had earlier admitted giving two envelopes from his superiors to the public servant. One of the envelopes contained four “green notes”.

He also told the court on Friday that trips conducted in the Koop Tjuchem company plane with J. to Switzerland and Scotland, among other destinations, were legitimate business dealings.

The building fraud scandal in 2001 caused an outcry after it was revealed that Dutch construction companies had 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.

The scandal led to a parliamentary inquiry in 2002 and criminal investigations into the matter still continue. The Dutch competition watchdog NMa also said earlier this week that it had fined construction companies another EUR 135 million on top of the EUR 100 million in fines previously imposed on 22 firms.

The NMa said 344 companies had been issued fines ranging from several thousand euros to millions of euros for participating in illegal cartels on large-scale infrastructure projects such as the HSL South high-speed train line. The fines put an end to the accelerated procedure introduced after the parliamentary inquiry.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news