Dutch Nato official Willem Matserwas working for an Italian crime boss and the Cali cartel.
AMSTERDAM - Dutch Nato official Willem Matser, who was arrested in February on suspicion of laundering USD 200 million (EUR 176 million), was working for an Italian crime boss, investigators believe.
The crime boss, identified only as Petro F, allegedly earned the money by smuggling cocaine from Colombia. F is suspected of having conducted business over many years with the Cali cartel, an infamous crime gang based in Columbia.
Matser previously worked with the Dutch Military Intelligence Service and was a eastern European affairs adviser for many years to Nato secretary-general Lord Robertson. In his role with Nato, the Dutch national attended meetings all over the world, an NOS news report said on Monday.
One of these meetings took place last year in Sinaia, Romania, where Matser spoke at an intelligence services conference. He also met the director of a company called Tender, one of the largest diversified concerns in the eastern European country.
Working in partnership with Tender, Matser allegedly set up a financial arrangement designed to bring USD 200 million from Colombia to Romania.
Dutch officials intercepted a package at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport last October containing securities valued at USD 200 million in the name of the Romanian company. Renowned criminal Petro F is alleged to have been sent the package.
Justice officials decided to tap F's phone. Later he allegedly had telephone contact with Matser at the Nato headquarters in Brussels. Both men were arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
F is also the chief suspect in a criminal investigation into cocaine smuggling via Schiphol. Assisted by two taxi drivers and a baggage handler, F is accused of smuggling countless amounts of cocaine into the Netherlands. Between October and December alone, five smuggling incidents are alleged to have occurred.
Matser denied in February this year that he knew F was involved in the drugs trade, but became allegedly flustered when informed of a taped telephone conversation between him and several co-suspects at Rotterdam Airport.
Brussels police searched offices at the Nato headquarters in the city following Matser's arrest on 3 February. Both he and F are being detained in jail in Haarlem and they will appear in court in September.
[Source: Expatica News, Amsterdan, Netherlands, July 22, 2003]
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