A Dutch “art detective” from Amsterdam called Arthur Brand has managed to lay his hands on Buste de Femme (Dora Maar), a painting that had been lost since 1999, The Guardian reported yesterday.
On 14 March 2019, two men “with contacts in the underworld” handed Brand the stolen Picasso in his apartment in the east of Amsterdam. According to Brand, stolen art can often be a hot potato. It is difficult to sell and in the meantime the thief or fence is stuck with a stolen item that, if found in their possession, can lead to awkward questions from the authorities.
Having gotten wind of the Picasso, Brand let it be known that he was interested in the painting, worth an estimated 25 million euro.
Brand, whose motto is “if they start to threaten you, you know you are on the right trail”, recovered a pair of bronze horses by Josef Thorak in 2015. The year after he negotiated the return of five stolen painting held by a Ukranian militia.
A day after receiving the painting, he handed it over to representatives of the insurance company.
Pablo Picasso painted the work in 1938.
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso)
Tags: crime, criminals, detectives, Pablo Picasso, paintings, Picasso, theft
According to RTL Nieuws, dozens of criminals in the Netherlands with an outstanding prison sentence wrongly continue to receive benefits. Although the justice department and police cannot find them, the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency), responsible for handing out benefits, doesn’t seem to have any problem finding baddies at all, much to the irritation of the Dutch government trying to put the kibosh on this absurd practice since 2011.
It can takes month before benefits are stopped owing to bureaucracy, but what really grates is that as many as 13 judges have still ruled in favour of these criminals, citing that ‘not serving one’s sentence is not a good enough reason to stop benefits’. They first need to see if the person is ‘purposely avoiding incarceration’ and then more pressure is put on the police to catch this person.
There’s even a case where a man took off to Australia with permission from the UWV and in doing so avoided his sentence. His sentence was then set at 10 weeks. However, Australia won’t extradite a Dutch person for any sentence of less than six month, so the man can chill down under while receiving money from the Netherlands and not go to prison.
Every time you hear that the Dutch are soft on crime, well, yes they are.
(Link: rtlnieuws.nl, Photo by Ken Mayer, some rights reserved)
Tags: crime, criminals, money, prison
Bram Heijstek has had a rough year. The council member of the municipality of Aalsmeer has been on the receiving end of several death threats that were allegedly signed by a colourful coalition of political opponents, reporters and famous locals. About the only person who did not threaten Heijstek was Heijstek himself… wait, let’s rewind the tape a bit. According to The Post Online, Heijstek was arrested two weeks ago on suspicion of identity theft and stalking after he had faked numerous threats to his person.
Two weeks before his arrest, RTV-NH had asked Heijstek about the possibility of having faked the death threats against him. Heijstek told the broadcaster, “I’ve been physically attacked three times this year. That seems a difficult thing to do to yourself. And you know, these threats are easy to trace.”
He added, “If only the police worked a little harder,” which they then did.
The police have released Heijstek, but they expect that the politician will be prosecuted, considering the amount of victims involved.
Aalsmeer is a town just south of Amsterdam and is mostly known for its flower auction, which takes place in the largest building of the world, measured by surface area.
Tags: criminals, politicians, politics
Three children reported a man to the police that they believed might be the escaped Mexican criminal Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán.
The three had spotted a man with a moustache sitting in a van on a parking lot on the Paul Kruger road in Ermelo, the Netherlands, last Tuesday. Drug lord Joaquín Guzmán, nicknamed El Chapo (Spanish for Shorty), escaped a Mexican maximum security prison earlier this month.
One of the children, 10-year-old Peter, had seen a photo of Guzmán in the newspaper and thought he recognised the trademark moustache the criminal sported at some point in his life.
After they had written down the license plate number of the van, the children biked to Peter’s house to call the police. Peter’s mother told Omroep Gelderland: “They were convinced it was him, he had the exact same moustache. They even knew he had smoked weed and that that is a drug. […] They hadn’t even realised the price on his head”
The police called back later to say they had looked into the matter, but hadn’t located El Chapo. They don’t believe it was him. Mexico has offered a reward of about 3.5 million euro for information leading to the capture of Mr. Guzmán. The US State Departement would also like a word with Mr. Guzmán and have offered a reward of up to 5 million USD for information leading to his arrest.
(Photo: US Department of State)
Tags: children, criminals, Mexico, rewards
The court of The Hague has rushed to the aid of Dutch bank Rabobank when it censored the book ‘De Verpanding’ (The Pawning) last Friday.
The book, subtitled ‘Art Disappears Where Rabo Appears’, describes the dealings of two ‘art entrepreneurs’ (as Volkskrant calls them) with the Special Cases department of Rabobank.
The authors claim Rabobank stole art works and chased the art collections of art traders, says NRC. Interestingly, the book was published in March with almost no publicity (at least none that I could find), but Rabobank thought it important to sue the publishers nevertheless. The court of The Hague ordered the book to be taken off the market with the goal of protecting the privacy of Rabobank employees who were named in the book. An anonymised reprint may be in the works. The publishers have asked buyers to return the book for a refund.
Meanwhile De Verpanding has been scanned and made widely available through the Internet. In an age where bankers are considered unconvicted criminals by many, such a response should have been foreseen by the bank.
The court of The Hague told 24 Oranges it expects the written verdict to be available from rechtspraak.nl somewhere in the course of next week.
(Photo by Ben Kraan Architecten, some rights reserved)
Tags: art robbery, art theft, bankers, banking, censorship, crime, criminal bankers, criminals, Rabobank
Dutchnews wrote yesterday: “The Netherlands has no plans to try to recover 60,000 kilos of Dutch gold stolen by the Nazis during WWII and sold on to Switzerland, finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem has told MPs.” Parliamentarians had been asking questions—it turns out the government had already decided not to ask the Swiss for the stolen gold in 2000.
An interesting story, but perhaps even more interesting is the question: does the Federal Reserve in New York still hold fifty percent of the Dutch gold reserve? According to Wikipedia the Netherlands is the country with the tenth biggest national gold reserve (654 tonnes), but half of that reserve is supposed to be in New York. When the Germans asked in 2012 whether they could come over and count their gold, they were told “no”. Germany then told the Federal Reserve it wanted some of its money back, to which the bank said it could take a while.
The American attitude has sparked rumours that the Federal Reserve has stolen the gold that a number of foreign nations have entrusted to it and is now scrambling to buy it back so that it can be returned to its owners.
(Photo by Sprott Money, some rights reserved)
Tags: banks, criminals, gold, money, participatiesamenleving, trust
The Dutch state can no longer fine motorists automatically for lacking insurance, Volkskrant reported on Saturday.
An enterprising judge in Leeuwarden wanted to know the name of prolific civil servant number 404040 who had booked 280,000 motorists in 2013. It turned out that number 404040 was a computer which in the eyes of the court was problematic. There is this pesky thing, you know, called the law, that says only humans can hand out fines.
RDW, the independent governmental service that collects the fines, is already studying how to avoid paying back the nice chunk of cash that it has stolen from the public. Last year alone the service collected 109 million euro illegally. In the future RDW will simply perjure themselves and put the ID of the civil servant who happens to be in the same building as computer number 404040 is on the fines.
Last year the public prosecutor tried to imprison a woman for not insuring her non-existent car.
Last week RTL Nieuws revealed that the government hardly ever prosecutes crimes committed by civil servants even though civil servants are required by law—there’s that pesky law again–to report crimes. It took RTL Nieuws a couple of years to collect the figures—they needed to use freedom of information requests to get at the information. (As you may know, the Dutch government is perfectly happy to be transparent about the times they do not break the law.) In total only 36 of 411 possible crimes were prosecuted.
Last December Transparency International declared the Netherlands one of the ten least corrupt countries in the world.
See also: Speed cameras wrongly fine motorists for years
(Photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)
Tags: corruption, criminals, law, legal crime, prosecutors
Last Friday a man accidentally electrocuted himself in an abandoned building on Mierloseweg in Helmond, Noord-Brabant, the police believe.
Friday morning a citizen told the police that there was a fire on the premises of a vacant business. When the fire fighters arrived, it turned out there was a man on fire! Although the fire was extinguished, the man died.
During an investigation detectives discovered several copper wires near the corpse that they suspect the man had cut loose. The police believe the 26-year-old man from Beek en Donk had tried to steal the copper from the company’s high voltage area and had accidentally created a short circuit which caused the fire.
According to Wikipedia copper theft is big business in the Netherlands. Rail manager ProRail loses about 10 million euro a year due to copper theft. In 2007 a copy of Rodin’s Le Penseur was stolen by copper thieves from the garden of the Singer Museum in Laren.
(Photo by Johan Wieland, some rights reserved)
Tags: criminals, Helmond, Noord-Brabant
Composer Melchior Rietveld won a court case against copyright collection agency Stemra last week over music he wrote for an anti-piracy ad.
In 2006, Dutch musician Melchior Rietveldt was asked to compose a piece of music to be used in an anti-piracy advert. It was to be used exclusively at a local film festival. However, when Rietveldt bought a Harry Potter DVD in 2007, he discovered his music being used in the anti-piracy ad without his permission. In fact, it had been used on dozens of DVDs both in the Netherlands and overseas.
In order to get the money he was owed, Rietveldt went to local music royalty collecting agency Buma/Stemra who had been representing him since 1988 but had failed to pay him any money for the anti-piracy piece previously registered with them.
Stemra deliberately kept Rietveld in the dark about the number of DVDs that had the pirated music on them, and initially refused to pay him money. After a lot of nagging Rietveld was contacted by a board member who offered him a fast track to his money if only he would split the loot with said board member.
Rietveld claimed 100,000 euro in damages, but the court only awarded him 20,000 euro (Dutch courts rarely award anything more than ‘proven’ damages), so Stemra now asserts this is a big win for them. Since the government is ultimately responsible for the dealings of the copyright collection agencies, I have my doubts—again—that this will ever lead to a second of jail time for the likes of Stemra.
Tags: brein, BUMA, courts, crime, criminals, damages, judges, Stemra
Dutch judges are five times more likely to send a criminal to jail if the suspect has a foreign appearance, researchers from Leiden University found out.
That likelihood increases to 20 times if the suspect does not speak Dutch.
The researchers checked for expected variables such as the features of the crime, the likelihood of the suspect to commit further crimes, and the location of the court.
Judges not only discriminated against foreigners with a non-Dutch appearance, but also against men. Women are three times less likely to end in jail than men who committed the same crimes. Only lighter crimes, including theft, assault, battery and traffic violations were studied.
A factor that did not influence the weight of the punishment was whether suspects showed they were sorry.
The researchers expressed concern that people receive a prison sentence when community or a fine would have sufficed, because prison sentence are known to kick-start criminal careers.
(Via: NRC. Link: Leiden University)
Tags: courts, crime, criminals, judges, racism, sexism