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“We’ll simply bring that shit to the Netherlands, and we’ll become millionaires,” Sywert van Lienden said in a recorded conversation on 12 April 2020.

At the time, Van Lienden was a municipal official in Amsterdam. In the weeks before that conversation, just after the coronavirus pandemic hit the Netherlands, he set up the Hulptroepen Alliantie. He devised a plan to supply and distribute face masks in the Netherlands.

Van Lienden promised to do this “free of charge” and repeatedly stressed that it is a non-profit initiative.

The Public Prosecution Service suspects Van Lienden of embezzlement, fraud, and money laundering. The authorities have seized their bank accounts and assets in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.


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