The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has dismissed several investigations into money laundering in the Netherlands by Russian oligarchs partially because it feared a political struggle, according to NRC.
Investigations indicated that well-known oligarchs, including Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky, placed their assets in tax havens via companies in the Netherlands. However, the OM halted the investigations due to concerns about proof and possible difficulties of working with Russian authorities.
The first investigation was initiated in 2001 by a detective in Zwolle. It concerned the Amsterdam Trade Bank and the Hoofddorp branch of Valmet, a trust office that was later renamed Mutual Trust. His investigation of the bank and trust office was shut down in 2003, despite evidence he had collected, according to NRC.
Then, in 2005, the OM raided Valmet’s Hoofddorp branch amid a larger investigation into the trust office and its directors. However, this investigation also failed, due to lack of evidence and because Khodorkovsky and Berezovsky both became embroiled in high-profile situations. Khodorkovsky spoke out against Russian President Vladimir Putin and was sentenced for fraud, while Berezovsky was found dead in the U.K. in 2013.
NRC reported that Mutual Trust Netherlands, formerly Valmet, attempted on Friday to prevent the publication of an article on Russian money in Hoofddorp. However, an Amsterdam court shot down the trust office’s demand to have access to the full article prior to publishing.