In The Netherlands, two members of the government and one faction member of the same party resigned. The reason? Corruption and drugs. When a fifteen-year-old case resurfaced and a Dutch minister provided wrong information to Parliament, all hell broke loose.

During a press conference on Monday evening, both Ivo Opstelten, Dutch Minister for Security and Justice (liberal party), and Fred Teeven, his Secretary of State (also liberal party), have stepped down from office. Just before midnight, they formally resigned before King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The duties of Opstelten and Teeven have temporarily been taken over by Stef Blok, Dutch Minister of Housing and Civil Service Affairs. Blok is also a member of the liberal party.

The reason for their abdication was a deal made fifteen years ago with a drugs outlaw Cees H., also known as the ‘Teeven-deal’. Secretary of State Teeven, who was responsible for making the settlement, served as Officer of Justice back in the year 2000.

The Public Prosecution System was not able to deprive H. of the profits of his criminal activities, so Teeven arranged a settlement to penalize the felon with a 340,000 euro fine. In exchange, H. was allowed to keep his savings, located in a Luxembourg bank account.

How much those saving were worth, was unclear up until now. Last year, the case resurfaced because of this lack of clarity. In the spring of 2014, Opstelten stated in parliament that H.’s savings consisted of one million euros. New evidence claims otherwise. A bank receipt from back then proved that the amount exceeds two million. The receipt, that had been irretraceable before, has been found on Sunday by external ict-experts in an inactive financial system once used by the Ministry. The price tag of this research was 50,000 euros.

As a result of his mistake in Parliament and because of the fact that this piece of information had been kept in the dark for so long, Opstelten on Monday decided to take full responsibility. He resigned, which left Teeven with no other choice but to resign with him. ‘When a Minister departs, his or her Secretary of State leaves as well’, a reporter from De Volkskrant stated on Tuesday. ‘But it is unclear if that is the sole reason for Teeven’s resignation’. On Wednesday, De Volkskrant added that Teeven ‘wanted to show solidarity with Opstelten, because the arrangement was dubbed the ‘Teeven-deal’ after all’.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, also a liberal, said he ‘respected the decision Opstelten and Teeven made’ and wishes to thank them ‘for all they did in the last couple of years’. ‘They will be missed’, Rutte concluded. Other politicians (both supporters and opponents) called the resignation of their colleagues ‘understandable’.

On Tuesday, a faction member of the liberal party, Kathalijne De Kruif, resigned as well. De Kruif has been suspected of corruption and growing hemp.

NRC Handelsblad reported that the Public Prosecution System suspects more members of the same party to be corrupt. Foreign newspapers, such as the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, called the incident ’embarrassing’ for the two politicians involved.

The liberal party has been heavily criticized. Polls state however that the resignations will not impact the provincial elections. The support for the liberal party supposedly remains high as ever. Keeping in mind that these elections are already due next week, it would nonetheless be no surprise that the results prove the polls wrong.

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