Europe Dutch security and justice minister and deputy resign

Dutch security and justice minister and deputy resign

Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice
Minister Ivo Opstelten and State Secretary Fred Teeven of Security and Justice

(AA) – The Dutch minister of security and justice, Ivo Opestelten, and his deputy, Fred Teeven, both resigned Monday over a deal struck by Teeven with a drug trafficker in 2001.

Teeven, when serving as chief public prosecutor, reached a deal with famous drug trafficker Cees H and is alleged to have given misleading information to parliament. 

The ministry said at the time that it had transferred 1.25 million Dutch guilders (€0.64 million) to the trafficker’s bank account but the amount is now known to be 4.7 million Dutch guilders (€2.4 million).

The public prosecution department reached an agreement with the trafficker to return the nearly five million Dutch guilders – the amount, which it had sequestrated in assets from the drug trafficker – after it was unable to prove they were obtained illegally. Teeven agreed to the deal but national and international tax services were not informed.

Opstelten told a press conference held on Monday evening that he had offered his resignation to King Willem Alexander after the document was found proving the real amount paid. Teeven later resigned despite insisting that nothing was wrong with the deal.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he had no choice but to respect the decision of the minister and his deputy to resign.

The duo are members of the Netherlands’ ruling party, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD.

The new minister of security and justice will be assigned following provincial council elections, which will be held on March 18. Until a new minister is assigned, the post will be occupied by the minister for housing and the central government sector, Stef Blok, who is a minister without portfolio in Rutte’s government.

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