Justice demands 106 million from businessman in Rotterdam port scandal

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Actually, the last chapter seemed to have already been written. In 2016, the court in Rotterdam dismissed the claim, because the judiciary would not have complied with the rules.

That was so. Initially, justice came with a claim of 42 million euros. Van den Nieuwenhuijzen would have earned that with the bankruptcy of shipyard RDM, among others. But in the criminal case, he was eventually acquitted of bankruptcy fraud on appeal. And so the basis for the claim lapsed.

Justice took a different tack. The businessman is said to have earned from the bribe of port director Willem Scholten. And he was sentenced for that (one year in prison, 285 days probation). The new claim: 111 million euros. The court in Rotterdam rejected that turnaround: the Public Prosecution Service was not allowed to suddenly come up with a completely new claim.

The court in The Hague saw this differently in 2018: it was not a new case, rather a different interpretation of the existing one. The judge in Rotterdam was ordered to take the case after all.

‘Sole ruler’

And so all parties will face each other again on Tuesday 29 September 2020. Joep van den Nieuwenhuijzen, as always, dressed up and in a good mood. This time assisted by no fewer than three lawyers and a legal assistant.

Justice argues that he personally benefited from the disputed loans to RDM, where ‘Joep’ held sway at the time. “He was the sole ruler, moved the money from one department to another and had full disposal of the assets”, the justice states.

The RDM money is said to have been used for the purchase of the yacht ‘Blue Gold’, an Aston Martin and cash withdrawals for his sons and then wife. The total amount of 111 million has been adjusted slightly downwards: 106 million.

Substantiation ‘squeaks and creaks’

Van den Nieuwenhuijzen (64) hears it all with a shake of his head and a broad smile. He has not earned a cent from RDM, remains his position. It has cost him money before.

His lawyers do not shy away from firm terms. The claim is ‘inimitable and exorbitant’, its substantiation ‘squeaks and creaks’. The alleged turnaround of justice – by basing the claim on bribery – is seen as ‘square-wheeled highway driving’.

They emphasize that the reasoning of the judiciary is far too simple: RDM received more than a hundred million, Van den Nieuwenhuijzen was in charge, so this money was his. “You have to prove that the money belonged to him personally and that is not the case. The credits were only used for business purposes.”

‘Nonsensical claim’

Joep van den Nieuwenhuijzen: “The Public Prosecution has been engaged in a continuous battle against me for thirty years (in 1991 HCS insider trading; acquittal, ed.) And it always leads to nothing. This is a completely nonsensical claim. I might have had the money. But the court has already ruled that that was not the case. “

Former port director Willem Scholten passed away in 2017. He had just before reached a settlement with the judicial authorities so that there was no separate confiscation case against him.

The court in Rotterdam will rule on the case against Van den Nieuwenhuijzen on 17 November. In any case, a special day for him: it is his birthday and then he turns 65.





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