Expatica news

Tax office ‘investigates’LPF on fraud suspicions

23 August 2004

AMSTERDAM — Controversy surrounded the Dutch populist LPF again on Monday amid claims the tax office’s investigation service, FIOD-ECD, is investigating the opposition political party on suspicion of fraud.

Former party treasurer Hans Swarte has handed over copies of the party’s accounts to FIOD, Dutch public news service NOS reported.

After taking up the position of party treasurer on 19 June, Swarte claims he discovered “serious irregularities” in the LPF accounts.

Newspaper De Telegraaf reported earlier on Monday that FIOD had raided the party of murdered anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn on Saturday. The LPF is being investigated in relation to fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

LPF MP and former immigration minister Hilbrand Nawijn — who is a special representative to the party executive — said he had no reason to doubt the LPF accounts had been given to FIOD, but he has denied the party was raided.

BNR radio has also reported that FIOD has denied claims the LPF was raided.

In the past three years, the LPF has received more then EUR 3 million in donations, loans and subsidies. Despite this, the party has a cash shortage to the tune of about EUR 200,000.

And EUR 100,000 that real estate magnate Ed Maas has loaned to the party — part of the in total EUR 1.3 million he has contributed to the LPF — has allegedly gone missing.

Party MPs are reportedly planning to discuss the latest developments later on Monday.

The LPF recently filed for bankruptcy, but Rotterdam Court rejected the application last week because party members had not approved of the move.

And as the latest LPF crisis escalated, three of the party’s five executives — chairman Henrick Fabius and treasurer Swarte — resigned on Friday.

Amid claims a new party might be established, MP Nawijn has said the three  executives who resigned might still be re-nominated later as candidates for a new party executive.

He could not confirm if the LPF would change its name, but said any new party would retain its Fortuyn-style ideology, news agency Novum reported.

The remaining two executives, Jan Belder and Sergej  Moleveld, are in favour of the current LPF seeking to suspend repayments to creditors.

Fortuyn established the LPF in the lead up to the general election in May 2002. Amid a wave of emotion following his assassination at the hands of a lone gunman on 6 May 2002, the LPF was swept to power with 26 seats in the new coalition Christian Democrat CDA and Liberal VVD government.

Party infighting and a series of leadership battles led to the fall of the government by the year’s end. The LPF was subsequently decimated in the January 2003 election and currently has eight MPs.

Following news of its bankruptcy application earlier this month, parliamentary leader Mat Herben said the move was the only way to get the party “organisationally, financially and communicatively” back on track.

The LPF was the first Dutch political party ever to apply for bankruptcy.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news