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The Public Prosecution Service had to rectify unjustified suspicions with an advertisement in three newspapers

A remarkable ad ran in Thursday NRC, the Telegraph and the Financial Daily. In it, the Public Prosecution Service publicly rectified the suspicions of fraud, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization of a Rotterdam healthcare institution and its directors.

In the rectification, the Public Prosecution Service says, among other things, that the director of that home care institution, Nour-Edinne Lemallam, “has been wrongly affected in his honor and reputation by the criminal action against him and by the public statements about this by the Public Prosecution Service”.

According to a spokesman for the national public prosecutor’s office, such a rectification by advertisement is rare. Sometimes the Public Prosecution Service does send press releases in which previous suspicions are revoked.

This rectification is the result of a ruling by the District Court of The Hague last month in proceedings initiated by the directors of the home care organisation. This was initially a one-man business, which after 2005 grew into a variety of domestic and foreign companies, which mainly focused on clients with an Islamic background. In 2007, these were the subject of a criminal investigation into misuse and fraud with healthcare funds.

It is rare that the Public Prosecution Service has to rectify a suspicion

In March 2008, the Public Prosecution Service announced that four men had been arrested. The “main suspect” was in pre-trial detention for almost three months. In January 2009, the Public Prosecution Service published an administrative report entitled ‘Fraud in home care’, which implicitly referred to the home care organisation.

In 2015, the Rotterdam court acquitted all suspects, the Public Prosecution Service waived an appeal. A settlement was agreed in 2020, whereby the Public Prosecution Service promised 250,000 euros to the curator who handled the bankruptcy of the healthcare institution.

Damages

The former board members then asked the court in The Hague for complete purification of their blazon. There is a right to that the court, if there was no demonstrable justification for a criminal investigation from the start of the investigation, or if the act was ‘contrary to a public law standard’. And that was the case here, was the verdict.

Possible accounting errors were not due to fraud, but to the rapid growth of the company: the criminal investigation was therefore ‘unlawful’ from the start. Since all those involved have been acquitted, ‘the justification of the press releases has also expired with retroactive effect’ and the state must also compensate for the damage. The amount thereof has yet to be determined. The then main suspect is in any case entitled to immaterial damages of 20,000 euros.

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