The new board of the Auxiliary Troops Alliantie foundation wants to reclaim more than 21 million euros from the former directors Sywert van Lienden, Bernd Damme and Camille van Gestel. They would have embezzled the money by passing on a large face mask deal with the government to their own company. It concerns the net profit that the three made with their trade in face masks.
Today the appeal that Van Lienden and Damme had filed against their forced dismissal from the foundation. The lawyer of the new foundation board of Auxiliary Troops Alliantie announced the recovery at the hearing, writes De Volkskrant.
In addition to the more than 21 million euros, the foundation will also reclaim 350,000 euros in lawyer fees from Van Lienden, Damme and Van Gestel. “The summonses will be sent out soon,” says lawyer Ilan Spinath on behalf of the foundation.
During the appeal, Bernd Damme’s lawyer said that Stichting Hulptroepen Alliantie and the commercial company Relief Goods Alliance were not competitors and could coexist. The foundation would have focused on smaller healthcare providers from the start. That is also just more sympathetic, Damme is said to have said before it was founded.
‘So there was nothing legally wrong with establishing RGA alongside the foundation,’ said Dammes counsel Sjef Bartels at the court in Amsterdam. ‘In doing so, Damme did not violate the statutes and the interests of the foundation.’
The Public Prosecution Service disagrees. The Public Prosecution Service states that the various customer profiles were not concrete and that Damme and his partner Sywert van Lienden did not act consistently on them. The Public Prosecution Service speaks of a parallel structure in which the company RGA used the name, goodwill and business network of the foundation. The Public Prosecution Service accuses Van Lienden and Damme of withdrawing turnover from the foundation and the operating company together with Camille van Gestel.
Bartels: ‘It was never Damme’s intention to become ‘rich’ with RGA. That would not have happened without the face mask deal. That profit was simply much higher than in the most positive scenario. Damme now blames himself for having acted too late on advice to allocate part of that profit to a social purpose. He had saved himself and others a lot of misery by doing so.’
Damme is contesting his dismissal as a foundation director in the appeal and asks the court to overturn a decision of the Amsterdam court. Damme does not want to return to the foundation but, according to his lawyer, would have ‘the greatest interest in an objective and factual investigation into the question that the court left unanswered: did he actually withhold income from the foundation or otherwise cause damage to the foundation?’
Van Lienden and Damme were dismissed as directors of the foundation by the court of Amsterdam in July last year. Van Gestel had already resigned himself earlier.