The Hague former alderman Richard de Mos has been acquitted in the corruption case against him. His colleague Rachid Guernaoui and the other six suspects have also been acquitted. One suspect was sentenced to four months suspended prison sentence for possession of a weapon. The Public Prosecution Service is disappointed and is considering an appeal.
The judge dismissed the suspicions. He was very critical of the working method of the Public Prosecution Service. That working method was far too rigid, the judge ruled. There is no evidence of participation in a criminal organization, official corruption, breach of confidentiality and perjury.
The judge established that more than 100,000 euros in party donations were made to Groep de Mos/Hart for The Hague by the five entrepreneurs, who were also on trial. In addition, De Mos himself received almost 270 euros in personal gifts.
They consisted mainly of meals. De Mos has also received two boat trips. But according to the court, there was no malicious intent on the part of the entrepreneurs with those donations. “In fact, the donations seem to have been made with good intentions,” said the judge.
See for yourself how the judge came to his conclusion and how De Mos reacted:
De Mos, who showed to be nervous before the verdict, fell into his co-defendants crying after the judge had pronounced the verdict. Loud cheers and applause erupted from the public gallery.
In a first reaction, De Mos called on the Public Prosecution Service to “let it go now and not appeal”. He also wants a debate in the city council of The Hague “to interpret the acquittal” and to return to the city council with his party as soon as possible.
The mayor of The Hague, Van Zanen, says he is “particularly happy for Richard and Rachid”. According to the mayor, “too long a period of uncertainty is coming to an end”.
The mayor says that the judge “made a clear decision. It is now up to everyone who feels connected to the city of The Hague to look ahead.”
Just before De Mos entered the court in Rotterdam, he already told journalists that he believed in a full acquittal. “That’s all I expect. In front of you is someone with a straight back. Someone who can look at themselves in the mirror.”
Guernaoui also had confidence in the case before the verdict:
The Public Prosecution Service asked for an unconditional prison sentence of 22 months for De Mos, and a ban on holding an administrative office for four years.
The Public Prosecution Service demanded a prison sentence of sixteen months against his fellow party member Guernaoui, six of which were suspended. He too would not be allowed to hold public office for four years. Sentences ranging from three to twelve months in prison were demanded against the other suspects.
What was the case about?
In the municipal elections in 2018, the local party Groep de Mos/Hart for The Hague, founded by De Mos, received the most votes. De Mos and Guernaoui became aldermen. A year later, in October 2019, the National Criminal Investigation Department raided offices at the city hall in The Hague and homes of the suspects. Research would show that permits could be purchased from the municipality for 15,000 euros.
Former councilor Nino Davituliani of Groep de Mos/Hart for The Hague is said to have played a central role in this. She is the partner of hospitality entrepreneur Erdinç Akyol and the sister-in-law of Atilla Akyol, both of whom also stood trial in this case.
The three other suspects who were also acquitted were real estate developers. Two of them, Michel Zaadhof and Edwin Jansen, came into contact with De Mos as members of a sounding board group. In this capacity they advised De Mos and Guernaoui in the formation of the college. Dennis Buis later came into the picture as the eighth suspect in the case. He is said to have been approached by De Mos as a donor to his party.
The party would have won the elections partly because De Mos and Guernaoui helped the friendly entrepreneurs in exchange for donations to the party. The business people would have received confidential information about future real estate projects, could have influenced municipal policy and received two night exemptions for catering establishments.
Watch a reconstruction of the corruption case against De Mos by Nieuwsuur here:
The accusations against Richard de Mos
All suspects have always maintained that they did nothing wrong. They have stated from the outset that there was nothing strange about the donations. De Mos says that he has always acted in the public interest and has always tried to solve problems of entrepreneurs and citizens. The lawyers for the suspects had asked for an acquittal.
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