Dutch Language Blog

The Teevendeal: A Huge Affair With Major Consequences Posted by on Dec 15, 2015 in News

June 15, 2000. Top Secret. After years and years of investigation, officier van justitie (public prosecutor) Fred Teeven makes a major decision that he knows is risky. Nobody can know, because he is not authorized to do it. There are rumors that he hoped to find evidence and more information about the boss of criminal Cees H., de Hakkelaar: Johan Verhoek.

Verhoek is sometimes seen as the biggest drugs criminal in Dutch history, and together with Cees H., he made millions in the trade of hasj in the 1990s. The drugsbende (drugs gang) became berucht (infamous) for risky, international transports of cocaine and hasj that, if they would succeed, were also very lucrative. Verhoek was arrested and imprisoned in 1997, but he was released again in March, 2000.

Cees H., who became very rich with trading drugs himself, was arrested and imprisoned several times, and escaped several times, too. It was assumed that he made 500 million with drugs trade, and was therefore also called the Man van Vijfhonderd Miljoen. There was, however, insufficient evidence that this money was made by trading drugs. So Teeven decided to do something else.

The Teeven-Deal

On that day in June, 2000, Teeven and Cees H. made a deal about H.’s money that was locked on a Luxembourg bank account. This was a mere 5.5 million gulden (the Dutch currency before the euro). Some of this money couldthe Plukze-wetgeving (Plukze legislation). This legislation allows taking away things or money that were presumably paid for with money from criminal activities. Thus, in this case, Teeven could take away some of these 5.5 million gulden. And that he did, with the Teeven Deal. However, de deal deugde niet (the deal wasn’t sound).

So what was problematic about the schikking (settlement)?

  • Cees H. had to pay only 750,000 gulden (the Dutch currency before the euro), walking away with a staggering 4.7 million, strafkorting (a lower punishment)
  • The highest officers of the Openbaar Ministerie (OM), Teeven’s employers, did only know about the specifications of this deal after it was closed. They also only allowed Teeven to let Cees H. go with 1-2 million, and said they would have never agreed to a deal like this (mostly because the Belastingsdienst was not informed).
  • The Belastingsdienst (the Dutch tax revenue service) was intentionally not informed at all about the deal, basically making it a witwasoperatie (money laundering operation).
  • Such a high amount of money would suggest that Cees H. has given information to the OM, but reducing the amount of the payment is not even allowed with a schikking.

Crimefighter Teeven

Fred Teeven (Image by Floris Looijesteijn at Flickr.com under CC BY 2.0)

So why was what Teeven did accepted for so long? Back in those days, certain officiers van justitie were seen as crimefighters: prosecutors who would do their own thing, always op het randje van de wet (on the verge of the law), and sometimes going a bit too far. This deal is an example, and a very big one. Teeven maintained that what he was doing was for volk en vaderland (the people and the fatherland), and back in those days, it was more common that the public prosecutors acted on the verge of the law, however even then, this deal would have been frowned upon.

Consequences of the publication

The consequences of the deal were manifold, and they are still unfolding. When the Dutch journalistic TV program Nieuwsuur brought the deal to light on March 11, 2014, and reported everything that was wrong with it, it became a big debate and political affair. Teeven was now staatssecretaris van Veiligheid en Justitie (junior minister of Security and Justice), and thus climbed higher in the ranks of the ministry responsible for such deals. He responded first that then minister van Veiligheid en Justitie Ivo Opstelten was responsible, since it was his ministry.

Just two days later in a kamerdebat (chamber debate: a debate in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch Parliament), Opstelten said that Cees H. had only two millions at his disposal, and that he left with just 1.25 million.

On April 4, 2014, Piet Doedens, voormalig advocaat (former attorney) of Cees H., declared in the news paper Volkskrant: “allemaal lulkoek wat Opstelten verkondigde” (All rubbish what Opstelten declared).

At the end of May 2014, an employee of the Ministry, who was commissioned to investigate what the actual amount was that was transferred, gave his findings to Opstelten. He said that he does not know the actual amount, but he is sure that it could not have been 2 million. Since he was to look for “het bonnetje” (the bill), the whole affair around the bill is now known as de bonnetjesaffaire (the bill affair). 2 weeks later, Opstelten declared in the Tweede Kamer that there was no trace of het bonnetje. Fred Teeven himself “had onvoldoende herinneringen aan de feitelijke afwikkeling van de financiële schikking.” (had insufficient memories of the factual chain of events of the financial settlement.)

In November 2014, Anouschka van Miltenburg, the kamervoorzitter (chair of the Second Chamber) received a letter from a klokkenluider (whistleblower) that contained many answers to the questions that kamerleden (members of the Second Chamber) had, including the exact amount of het bonnetje, the 4.7 million.

In January 2015, The same TV program that brought the deal to light, Nieuwsuur, gets the letter, and starts investigating. Within the ministry, the journalists find several sources of all payment details. On March 4, 2015, another episode of the program brings light to the new findings. In it, a calculation of the tax and the fine which should have been applicable to the 5.5 million, resulted in an amount of 6.4 million which should have been for the state:


On March 8, 2015, het bonnetje was found on the systems of the Ministry. It was found quite easily, and confirms the 4,7 million.

And one day later, this happened:


Opstelten and Teeven resign. They are replaced by party colleagues Ard van der Steur as minister and Klaas Dijkhoff as staatssecretaris.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte supports Teeven, saying that he did not think it was necessary for him to resign. However, since Opstelten failed to bring het bonnetje to light, he should have resigned, and thus agrees with that.

Also, the Tweede Kamer declared to set up a committee that would research the whole affair once more. This became the Commissie-Oosting, chaired by ex-ombudsman Marten Oosting.

This committee presented its findings last week, on December 9. This is the conclusion:


The deal was geen fair deal (no fair deal).

And now, there are more consequences: On Sunday, this happened:


Kamervoorzitter Van Miltenburg declared that she resigned, too. Apparently, she read the whistleblower letter she received, but still decided to shred it.

This means that three very important members of the VVD Party lost their position due to this deal and the negligent way this was dealt with.

And now? Wednesday, there is a debate on this deal in the Tweede Kamer, also with Prime Minister Mark Rutte. It will be interesting to follow what this deal will still do.



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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.