Wikileaks revelations on Dutch-US extradition stalemate

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The Netherlands refuses to extradite Dutch businessman Frerik Pluimers to the United States, where he is wanted on bribery charges. According to confidential US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, in 2005, Dutch foreign minister at the time Ben Bot had asked the US to withdraw its extradition request. Washington refused, and the Netherlands eventually rejected the request in 2008.

US authorities accuse Mr Pluimers of approving bribery payments to Panamanian officials. Their permission was needed to move the offices of his company, Saybolt International, to a new location in one of the Panama Canal's free-trade zones. The payments, made from the Netherlands, were approved under the name ‘Capo Grande Holanda’, which insiders say refers to Mr Pluimers.

His business partner at the time, David Mead, was sentenced to four months in prison and fined 20,000 US dollars.

In 2003, the Council of State, the Netherlands’ highest administrative court, approved Mr Pluimers' extradition. However, the US diplomatic cables show that then minister of justice Piet Hein Donner decided against the extradition because of “the opposition of other members of the cabinet.” A spokesperson for the Dutch justice ministry confirmed that the extradition request was rejected on 23 June 2008, stating: “The personal circumstances of Pluimers were such that the minister saw it fit to refuse the request.”

A spokesperson for the US Justice Department said that the US was not going to let the matter rest, stating "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.”

US diplomats say that Mr Pluimers “enjoyed great respect in the Dutch diplomatic and business community.”

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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