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Netherlands – Agency owner gets away lightly

29 April 2013

The director of a Dutch staffing agency has got away lightly after paying too little in tax to live a life in luxury. The 41-year-old man, identified only as Jeffrey B., was sentenced to only 240 hours of community service despite prosecutors demanding a two-year prison sentence.

A court in Den Bosch made the judgement on Friday, also handing out a suspended prison sentence of one year to the director of Vacatureweb, an agency based in Eindhoven. The man managed to pay €750,000 less in taxes through various “tricks”, the prosecutors said. He used the money to fund his luxurious lifestyle.

The penalty has come as a blow to those seeking harsher punishments as prosecutors fought for a two-year sentence of unconditional imprisonment. He was accused of fraud, but judges decided a community service would suffice.

The Netherlands is host to one of the largest staffing markets in Europe and the government has taken further steps to tackle fraudulent agencies. The Dutch Social Affairs Ministry last year even went as far as compiling a list of the top 100 employment agencies known to have violated legislation, including tax fraud and  labour exploitation.

Dutch media regularly reports about staffing firms being raided and investigated by officials and companies now having to be recorded in a trade register to increase transparency in the industry.

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