VVD chair under fire over crematorium deal

THE HAGUE–The chairman of the conservative VVD party is under fire for his involvement in a controversial million euro crematorium deal.

Henry Keizer took over the commercial branch of the Dutch crematorium association in 2012 for 12.5 million euros, even though the company had been valued at 31.5 million euros. At the time, he was also an advisor to the association, website Follow the Money revealed last week.

But it now transpires that Keizer is also chairman of the association and this allows him to control what information about the 2012 deal is made public.

Legal experts informed the Volkskrant newspaper that Keizer cannot run a company which operates seven crematoria while at the same time chairing the association, because the association’s statutes make this impossible.

“It is very odd that he is running the show,” law professor Tymen van der Ploeg told the paper. “His appointment is void. The board must take action,” he said.

A spokesman for Keizer told the paper that there is no conflict of interest because Keizer is not primarily involved in running crematoria.

Keizer himself told a selected group of journalists on Friday that he had acted with “complete integrity.” Follow the Money, which broke the story, was refused access to the meeting.

VVD leader Prime-Minister Mark Rutte and VVD fraction leader in the Dutch Parliament’s Second Chamber Halbe Zijlstra decided not to refer the claims to the party’s integrity committee.

Keizer had asked for an investigation by the VVD’s integrity committee. Both Zijlstra and Rutte said it was good that Keizer made such a request. In Keizer’s opinion this could permanently put an end to any doubts.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65558-vvd-chair-under-fire-over-crematorium-deal