Netherlands rejects US extradition request

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The Netherlands refuses to extradite Dutch businessman Frerik P. to the United States where he is wanted on bribery charges.

According to confidential US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks, then Foreign Minister Ben Bot asked the US in 2005 to witdraw its extradition request. When Washington refused, the Netherlands eventually rejected the request in 2008.

The US authorities accuse Frerik Pluimers. of approving the payment of bribes to Panamanian officials, whose permission was needed to move the offices of his company Saybolt Int. to a new location in one of the free-trade zones on the Panama Canal. The payments – made from the Netherlands, were eventually approved by ‘Capo Grande Holanda’, which according to insiders refers to Mr Pluimers.

His then business partner David Mead was sentenced to four months in prison and a fine of 20,000 US dollars. In 2003, the Council of State, the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, approved the businessman’s extradition, but the US diplomatic cables show that then Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner decided against extradition because of “the opposition of other members of the cabinet.”

The same diplomatic cable shows that Foreign Minister Ben Bot in 2005 asked the US to withdraw the extradition request. US diplomats say that Frerik Pluimers “Enjoyed great respect in the Dutch diplomatic and business community.”

A spokesperson for the justice ministry has confirmed that the extradition request was rejected on 23 June 2008. “The personal circumstances of Pluimers were such that the minister saw fit to refuse the request.”

A spokesperson for the US Justice Department said the US was not going to let the matter rest. "The Dutch government’s rejection of our request does not affect the validity of the underlying case, or our options to request the extradition of the accused from other countries.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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