Prison terms demanded for fraud in Westland tomato trade

Trust in the Westland tomato trade is of great importance, and according to the Public Prosecution Office, this trust was seriously misused by a commercial employee of a producer organization. Against this former employee and two joint defendants, the Public Prosecution Office last week demanded imprisonment for bribery, forgery and money laundering.

The former commercial employee of the producer organization sold tomatoes from the affiliated growers to various customers. He had to ensure that growers received the best possible price for their tomatoes. The former commercial employee is suspected of having favored one customer by selling the tomatoes to that customer at a lower price. The growers would thus have received a lower price for their tomatoes, which would have disadvantaged them. The buyer, who would have benefitted, was a company of the two joint defendants.

Fake invoices
In exchange for the lower prices that the defendant would have granted to the company of the two joint defendants, the suspect would have received a donation of in total 850,000 euros, the public prosecutors said during the session of the court. That money was transferred by the two joint defendants to the company of the former commercial employee. According to the prosecutors, fake invoices had been drawn up for this.

'Trust is costly, literally and figuratively', the prosecutors stated today at the session. They accused the suspect of having violated the trust that the growers had placed in him to sell their tomatoes at the best possible price. The public prosecutors blamed the two fellow suspects that they had bribed the suspect and had participated in the money laundering that had been arranged to give the bribes to the suspect as inconspicuously as possible.

The Public Prosecutor Office demanded a prison sentence for the duration of three years against the former commercial employee, of which one year on probation. Against one joint defendant 40 months imprisonment was demanded of which 10 months are on probation and against the other joint defendant a prison sentence of 24 months of which 6 months on probation. Also the wives of the two joint defendants stood trial for money laundering. Against both, the maximum work sentence of 240 hours was demanded with additional suspended prison sentence of 6 months.

Bron: OM (Public Prosecution Office)

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