Sywert van Lienden and Bernd Damme of the Auxiliary Alliance Foundation have been definitively dismissed from the board. The court in Amsterdam determined this on Thursday. They are also not allowed to become directors or supervisory directors of a foundation for the next five years.
The court rules that the two “have acted contrary to the articles of association of the foundation by establishing a commercial competitor of their own foundation”.
Van Lienden and Damme were provisionally removed from the board in April pending a lawsuit because of a controversial face mask deal. The Public Prosecution Service and seven involved in the deal had asked the judge for their dismissal.
The business partners concluded the mouth mask deal in 2020 with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS): they received more than 100 million euros in tax money for about 40 million mouth masks. It was one of the largest face mask deals in the corona crisis. With the deal they earned about 20 million euros.
Some of the mouth masks have been rejected by the RIVM because they contain the very thin carbon material graphene. So far none of the caps have been used.
‘More transparency only after media attention’
The court rules that the directors, and in particular Van Lienden, have also emphasized to the outside world that they are selflessly committed to care. Only after reports appeared in the media about a commercial company did they provide more clarity.
According to the court, it has not been shown that they could not do this earlier due to confidentiality obligations. “Due to their own actions, Van Lienden and Damme have become involved in a major social controversy,” the court said.
Van Lienden refuses to refund millions of profits
The House of Representatives asked Van Lienden to return the money, but he has not done so.
Van Lienden and his associates were arrested at the end of February because of an investigation into the mouth mask deal. According to the Public Prosecution Service, the directors acted contrary to the articles of association of the foundation, because part of the profits would have been transferred to their own BV.