Biggest Dutch fraud trial opens

17th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Two accomplices of the main suspects accused of embezzling EUR 18 million will appear in court on Tuesday.

Haarlem – Two directors of a project developer accused of aiding and abetting the theft of EUR 18 million will appear in court on Tuesday in the Netherlands’ biggest embezzlement trial.

The duo, Rob W and Maarten M, are accused of embezzling EUR 18 million through fraudulent bookkeeping. They are suspected of obtaining EUR 67 million for three projects while the actual cost was only EUR 49 million.

The public prosecutor added the two men are accomplices of the main suspects who will only appear in court in 2010.

The two main suspects, Jan van V and Nico V, held leading positions in semi-public bodies in the real estate sector and developed major building projects all over the Netherlands.

The former heads of Bouwfonds and the Philips pension fund alleged budgeted for far more than was actually needed. The profits, around EUR 200 million, were channelled into their own accounts.

The trial, which is expected to take a week, is billed as the Netherlands biggest real estate fraud trial.  Fifty people, most of whom are senior real estate managers, have been accused of fraud, forgery, corruption and whitewashing.

Seventy companies and associations have also been charged with fraud in the case, including the Philips pension fund and the building fund of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities.

There have also been solicitors who are accused of being involved in the fraud.

A Rotterdam solicitor who allegedly helped in processing many fraudulent transactions was suspended for two weeks in April. A solicitor's office in Heemstede was also involved in shady real estate deals, reported the Dutch press in June.

In some cases, entire apartment blocks were sold on to several successive new owners on a single day, without the tenants of the apartments being aware of the change of ownership. With every transaction, the value of the property increased. Although quick ownership successions are not illegal, the court will have to decide whether the process was used merely to generate money by forcing up the value of the buildings, which is punishable.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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